A weighty errand

by Radio Somewhere

I have been living without a car for fourteen years — by choice. I still have a driver license, but I think the last time I actually drove was in January 2002, when someone had me drive him to the airport in his car. I’m on my third Washington state license — virgins, all three of them. I often get unsolicited offers from insurance companies impressed by my safe-driving record!

Anyway, my car-free life is a bit of challenge. My neighborhood has a WalkScore of 49, which qualifies it as “car dependent”. The nearest regular bus service is almost a mile away. So, I do a lot of walking and have to make many trips to the grocery store — the nearest of which is 1.8 miles away. I do OK though, and it keeps me in shape.

The problem is, I have a cat — and buying cat litter is an errand that I do not relish. Small bags (less than 10lbs) are hard to find these days and are poor economy to boot — but even if I take the bus, I still have a 15-minute walk with the bag.

However, last time I was a Safeway, I noticed that a 20lb bag of Feline Pine pellets (which lasts my cat two months) is priced at $10.99 — a deal that makes lugging it home worthwhile. So, I stopped on the way home from work today.

After buying it, I sat in the coffee shop seating area and made use of the WiFi while I waited 26 minutes for the next bus. I let one bus that arrived a little earlier go by, because it was an old one with stairs.

Walking with the 20lb bag (and I have done this a few times before) is always a reminder never to gain that amount of weight — although it would, of course, be somewhat different with the weight more evenly distributed. The ideal way to carry a large sack cat litter or pet food is to hoist it over your shoulder and then balance it with your hand. But I am rather short, so that makes me far too top heavy. I also have poor balance and don’t walk too well that way. So, I have to alternate the “heavily pregnant lady” approach (hugging it against my stomach with both arms) with the “mother carrying large toddler” approach (hoisted onto hip). And I stop a couple of times where I can set the sack down at waist height.

But I got it home and am good for cat litter for two months! I also got some good exercise!