April Fool’s Day (aka- Automobile Independence Day)
In my master’s coursework, I was assigned to read Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck. The 10th anniversary edition is still as poignant as when it was originally printed. I highly recommend reading it.
What caught my eye was a chapter called “The Victims of Sprawl.” Children growing up in cul-de-sacs, mothers chauffeuring their children to numerous activities, bored teenagers unable to experience independence without access to a car, the elderly unable to drive anymore, commuters, the immobile poor– all were identified as “victims” of suburban sprawl. I couldn’t help but nod as I read the chapter identifying how suburbia’s dependence on the automobile has created such victims and how much money is spent supporting this dependence. I had to chuckle out loud when I discovered a new holiday– “Automobile Independence Day.” The authors explain:“Recognizing the tremendous cost of the auto-dependent lifestyle, the author Philip Langdon has proposed a new national holiday: “Automobile Independence Day.” It would take place on that date each year by which we have earned one quarter of our salaries, the amount that it takes to support our cars. How appropriate that it is April Fool’s Day.”
How much do you spend on supporting your car? It brings a whole new meaning to April 1st, now doesn’t it? Perhaps, in the end, the joke is on us.