Costco apparently has no sense of irony.
I realized that when I saw the two items displayed side by side. The bicycle has an electronic motor added so you DON’T have to pedal. Meanwhile the deluxe elliptical machine beside it means you DO have to pedal. When you come home from a day sitting in front of a desk you can do your ten thousand steps no matter the weather.
I know about the ten thousand steps although we didn’t used to call it that. My parents called it meat power. It’s the thing of my youth. How are you going to get there? How about MEAT power? Use your legs kid. You can see it most with the traffic jams that now occur in neighbourhoods where parents are dropping off kids to school. We used to walk. I mean EVERYBODY. As far as the eye could see, rain or shine, you could see hundreds of kids all making their way to school on foot, some from rather far away. We didn’t really think of it as exercise then, it was just another mode of transportation. We walked and biked everywhere and I do recall that fat kids were quite rare.
Enter 2021. It seems that the price of gas is currently hitting a record, and I note in sober moments the amount my bank account is docked monthly to pay for insurance. Driving a car - or two is an expensive deal. When first married, we lived in downtown Toronto where most things we needed were within walking distance. Hence, we walked a LOT. Likely much more than ten thousand steps a day. In those times my pockets would jingle though I was the only one working and my wife was at home with a small baby. We didn’t have to rent a yearly parking space. We had little headache. When we wanted to get out on the weekends we would rent a car. This was generally in the summer, so our cost of driving was actually quite low.
Then we moved to Oakville in January 1997. Suddenly a car loomed large. I recall walking to the mall, not that far away and coming back with a bag of milk, bread and a dozen eggs. It was about minus twenty and dark outside. On the way back I slipped on some black ice, whacked my head, broke the eggs and the bags of milk. Though a grown man, I literally sat on the sidewalk and cried. Meat power was not looking so good. We bought a used car cash about a month later. We also got to know our neighbours once the sun shone again, and things looked much better come spring.
There was an elderly lady who used to ride about in our old neighbourhood. She had a rather grand three-wheeler adult bike with a large basket perched in the back. She used it to get groceries and I imagine it fit her budget. She used the bike daily to go out and about, and mainly to visit garage sales which I imagine also fit her budget. The lady had legs like tree trunks. I bet she could have broken a wooden board with a good kick and I also bet her doctor was also thrilled at her health status. Meat power once again ruled the day.
Now, politicians say “You will own nothing and you will be happy”. Projections forward from the World Economic Forum premise wonderful days ahead (note of sarcasm) where we will simply rent all the time, and someone ELSE will own the car, and everything else. It is supposed to be some kind of utopia, we are told.
Meanwhile government policy seems bent on making this come true. It’s not just the price of gas and insurance, the nascent enthusiasm to force Canadians to curb their carbon footprint, necessitates shutting down our oil patch and imposing usurious taxes that will make driving punitively expensive. Our Prime Minister just flew to a climate conference where important people will take steps to make this come true. He took two jumbo jets. One for himself, and one for his personal chef, press, photographer and his retinue, because you know, curbing carbon emissions is very important.
We know people who have downsized from two vehicles to one. They said it made a big difference. Now they don’t have to pinch as much to afford other things like say, a vacation. Such financial calculations are becoming more important going forward. Last month we clocked in at 4.5% rise in the cost of living in a single year. This runaway inflation seems to follow the government’s free spending habits, as in literally printing money because you know, they NEED money to finance all that important stuff they decide. The rest is just details. Our PM recently clucked at reporters that he doesn’t think about financial policy, he is dealing with truly important and groundbreaking things like saving the planet. What this really means, is making life so expensive in Canada that we will not burn fuel to heat our homes and we won’t drive. We will just sit at home doing I’m not sure what, feeling quite virtuous while the biggest polluters of the world spew on while busy making money. It has escaped our current leaders that crippling our economy at enormous personal cost for every Canadian won’t much budge world emissions as long as China and India operate per usual.
Anyway, given the rising cost of things, my daily rounds may have to revert back to foot. I may even go for the electronic bike and call it a day. Two grand and I’m done. It would suffice for a lot of the A to B for one person where time is an issue. Otherwise meat power is certainly cheaper, and a healthier option. I won’t need any expensive elliptical machine to make sure I get my exercise.
Meat is bad they tell me, but that’s another battle. The government on another file, is trying to ensure that we won’t eat well either. We will forego meat because it’s the virtuous thing to do for the planet. Because you know, we CARE about the planet more than we do the people living on it and the government has nothing better to do than to interfere with what I do in the confines of my own home. Anyway, the war on meat is another story for another day. Meanwhile however, the war on energy is almost a fait accompli.
Perhaps while out walking, I will be debating the virtue of our international leaders, who fly or are chauffeured in expansive limos, while telling us that a carbon footprint is a bad thing. It seems like meat power is something I’m just going to have to get used to all over again, and yes, it’s true. Everything old is new again.