It has been almost a year since I voluntarily gave up my driver’s license and took the dramatic step of testing my faith to whoever is now in charge of such things.

Bob Kalish observes life from a placid place on the island of Arrowsic (motto: You’re not in Georgetown yet). You can reach him at

Personally, I prefer cold-hearted fate ruled by the law of karma, which can best be described as the law of physics applied to the metaphysical.

What I mean to say is, I didn’t decide to give up driving because of any lofty idealism, but it was like a series of minor events: the car drifting too close to the centerline, navigating parking lots and driving at
night told me it was time for a change.

So the idea of giving up my car and living without any personal transportation didn’t really hit home until one evening when I was alone making dinner and realized I was missing a key ingredient (if you must know, it was lemon zest). Normally I’d grab the keys, hop into the car and drive the 7 miles to the grocery store. And not even think about it. But 14 miles for a shake of lemon seemed absurd.

It’s one thing to give up your car when you have alternate choices, such as mass transit, or you live within walking distance of a professional chauffeur.

So the first thing I noticed was kindness. There is a lot of kindness out there. I’ve been a cynic for most of my life; I always looked at the dark side because it was safer than being hurt. But what this time taught me is that there’s a lot of kindness in the world, especially here in our out-of-the-way corner.

For example, a handful of us old men play basketball together at the Bath Family Y several times a week. I’m talking old. So old we remember when women wore gloves and men wore hats. As ferocious as they are on the court, they made a deal to drive me to and from the gym on playing days.

And then there is a group called Age-friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec, and public transportation is one of their goals. They aim to make it more possible to spend those elder years here in paradise.

So there it is. Oops, I’ve got to go now – my ride’s here.

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