I've talked before about how sad I found the Americans' complete (and often imaginary) dependence on their cars. But I keep seeing things that make me realize that the problem goes even deeper that I could have imagined. To give an example: there is a convenience store close to my house. It takes me about 4 minutes of very leisurely walking to get there. Just today I saw a young woman who lives across the street go in the direction of the convenience store. In a couple of minutes, she returned, holding a soft drink. The shocking thing is that she went there in a car. There is no logical reason why one would prefer to drive in a car that has been standing outside, in a scorching heat all day long, instead of simply walking this very insignificant distance. Are we now at the point where such a possibility doesn't even occur to young people?
I especially love it when my students tell me that they missed class because their car wouldn't start. When I inform them that there is a very good and reliable public transportation system in this area, they look at me like the idea of taking a bus is completely alien to them. And then we wonder why the obesity rates are growing and people are getting less and less healthy.