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9.11.2010

guest post: going green the wong way


I'm on vacation! Taking a much-needed break. But don't worry. While I'm away, I've enlisted some great guest bloggers to keep things going around here. Here's Kristina Wong on being carless in Los Angeles.

For two years I've been doing something that horrifies people to no end. I've been living without a car. In Los Angeles.

For those of you who live in San Francisco or New York, or any other compact city that was not urban planned by a drunk person as Los Angeles was, let me give you an idea of what I'm up against sans wheels:
San Francisco is 47 square miles. Manhattan is 22 square miles. Philadelphia is 135 square miles. Los Angeles is 498 square miles!

498 square miles? That's a lot of silicone breast implants!

My fellow Angelenos are the most horrified when I tell them about my day-to-day carless negotiations around the mean streets of LA to get to my shows, auditions, and meetings. Even my fellow Asian American super activists who lobby against war and environmental racism cannot understand how I haven't "died" yet without the armored protection of a gas guzzling car.

So why no car? Is it that I really care that much about the environment or stand that much against the war?

Not really. It all started when my money pit of a vegetable oil run car caught on fire on the freeway and nearly killed me, and then this PTSD kicked in which persists today. I am totally fine about driving, it's owning a car that makes my heart race and hands shake. I've had past partners and family members offer outright to buy me a car, but just imagining having to fork over a hundred bucks here and thousand bucks there for repairs, registration, and gas has me screaming and crying in the face of their generosity.

And so goes the experiment of having an excellent life in Los Angeles without owning a car. It hasn't been altogether easy, but at the same time, car owning wasn't that convenient for me either. Carlessness has me getting to know my city in a whole new way, having amazing conversations with people I carpool with and negotiating time on a whole new slower and preplanned scale.It 's also changed how much booze I drink now that I don't have to be the designated driver! I may have to get a car again so I'll have a reason to stop drinking so much. And the approximate savings of $7000 a year has helped me become a homeowner this year and also has made my mortgage payments more manageable.

The whole experience has been fuel (ooh, a car pun!) for a new show about sustainability that I'm making. Info on that below.


Since Angry Asian man said I could blog about whatever while he was on vacation, I wanted to offer some tips for those of you who want to ditch your cars and travel your city by bus. You're welcome.

Kristina Wong's Tips for Living the Good Life Sans Car

PACK SNACKS. It's very important, if you are going to be traveling all day by bus to pack snacks. But very important. Pack snacks LOW in FIBER, NOT HIGH in FIBER. A lot of people who have taken the bus for years don't realize how important it is to leave your bananas at home! Everyone on the 704 Bus does not need to know what a human slip and slide you are!

BE A 21st CENTURY RIDE MOOCHER. Use Twitter and Facebook to hitch rides across town. With enough planning and a large enough friend base, it works! Be kind and tip your driver.

CHANGE THE WAY YOU DO BOOTY CALLS. No fear horny carless warriors! You need not take a bus to Tarzana at 2am and awkwardly ask for a ride back home at 2:20am.... for yours will now be a life of INCALL! So get ready to play host! (Not that I myself would ever partake in the vulgar uncouth transactions that are booty calls, this is just my research based on other carless people who do this...)


For more on ideas on Going Green the Wong Way, check out my FREE show at the Comedy Central Workspace September 14 at 8pm! 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA To RSVP, please call 323.960.5519

Kristina Wong's new solo show Going Green the Wong Way will preview at the Comedy Central Workspace this month, Las Vegas in October and has its world premiere in November at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. The show is directed by Paul Tei. More info at www.kristinawong.com.