I have been feeling embattled over the last few weeks. Blah blah blah housing, blah blah blah office move. Our daughter’s preschool changed hands and for the last week, has been run by a for-profit corporation. (We are familiar with the company and did not have a good experience.) As a result of this transition, many of our friends from preschool are leaving the city over the next six months.
At one point I said, “Well, at least everyone’s healthy.” Jinx. Our son ended up in the emergency department, on oxygen, with a tentative diagnosis of pneumonia. It wasn’t pneumonia, and after a week at home he was feeling better, thank goodness.
The weather has been colder as well. It makes it just that extra bit harder to get on the bike. But given that we’ve chosen to live without a car, we mostly do it anyway. We just keep swimming, more or less literally last Thursday morning, when the rain was coming down so hard that the street turned white. But my rain gear is incrementally improving every season, and I got to work dry. By mid-morning it was sunny again.
So far the preschool situation is hanging fire. There are many new teachers who are stymied when we show up on the bike every morning, who cannot really believe yet that there are people who ride to school (admittedly the hill is a beast even with the assist). But nothing bad has happened yet.
This week I finally ended up meeting with my school’s dean. I wanted to know where things were going, professionally speaking. It was a very reassuring conversation. Among other things, it turns out that a dean is more powerful than the university housing office. Things are going to be okay.
We keep doing what we’re doing. We are buying no new plastic and thus producing much less garbage, and to my surprise this transition has been fairly painless. Our son is fervently on board, for reasons I haven’t really figured out. We’ll be rooting out odds and ends of pre-packaged things for some time yet, but using up what we already have is good preparation for our eventual move. Riding with my daughter to the cheese shop last week (which sells cheese and hummus and crackers in bulk and is delighted to put them in our containers and basically makes this whole endeavor far less onerous) I thought: oh my god, we are those people. I am riding my bike with my kid on board to buy self-consciously local food in reusable glass jars and cloth bags. It must look appallingly smug. What’s next, an annual pilgrimage to Burning Man?
But a synonym for “smug” is “contented.” We soldier on, and it feels like life coming into balance.