Quaxing. Something to do with ducks? Waxing? Actually, it’s shopping by means of sustainable transport.
Not long ago quaxing became a thing, at least, on the internets. If you like your hashtags then you’ve probably come across it. It’s origins go back to the beginning of the year two thousand and fifteen, but the first hashtag, where it really became a thing, appeared only weeks ago. Here’s a full account of the phenomenon, (and the original article) but the basics are as follows:
Dick Quax, an Auckland Councillor, responded to a comment on Twitter regarding public transport and shopping, with this:
— Dick Quax (@DickQuax) January 3, 2015
The ridiculousness of this is so patently obvious and requires no further explanation or argument. That it is so absurd is precisely why this has blown-up on Twitter.
Still, you have to marvel at the tenacious defiance, if obtuse and asinine, that Quax shows in the defense of his alternate version of reality.
— Dick Quax (@DickQuax) January 3, 2015
Anyway, this idiot aside, people have quaxed since there were bikes, trains, or feet with which to quax with, which is to say, since, like, forever.
I’m amazed that it’s such a hard concept to grasp. But then, I’m also not.
When people have grown up being driven the three blocks to school, to friends houses, into town, and every other conceivable place that one can reach by roads, it’s not all that surprising that they can’t conceive of a reality where normal people do normal things without the use of a car.
Furthermore, if you look around you’ll see very little allowance for anything else. Supermarkets have giant carparks, but how many spaces for bikes? How many covered spaces for bikes? How much space for cargo bikes? Where are the cycle paths or even bike lanes?
On the other hand, I’ve managed, like many others, to get my shopping done just fine without a car. I’m not, however, stupid enough to imagine that everyone can, so let’s get that out of the way first.
For example, if you choose to live out in the suburbs or anywhere else where that doesn’t have neighborhood amenities, you may find it quite difficult to reach the shops by foot or bike. If you have a number of dependents, it may be more difficult to physically transport enough, even on multiple trips throughout the week.
For everyone else, which is quite a large number of people, you can choose to use a bike, the bus, train, tram, or, heaven forbid, your feet, to do the shopping.
I ride approximately 7-8km to work. On my lunch I often pick up a couple of things, which I can easily fit into my backpack, and bring home. It’s not a lot as I don’t use a large backpack, but I could bring the larger one and pick up more if I had to. If I wanted to bring the lock, I could stop by any number of places on my way home. If I used panniers I could carry even more. I could feasably do this every day, and not only is this easy and reasonably quick, it provides fresh food on a reasonable basis.
On the weekends, we live quite conveniently across the street from a weekly farmers market where we get the bulk of our food for the week. That was one of the reasons we choose to live where we do. For things I have to go to the supermarket for, I walk to the station to take the tram into town and load up. Same with anything else that can be carried. When we lived in town, we walked the km to the central market and picked up what we needed. When we lived further from town where the shops aren’t as conveniently located, I still walked. When we lived in Edmonton, AB, where we had a car on-and-off, we walked (or sometimes took the bus) to the grocery store, which was just inside of a kilometer, through snowy, minus 30℃ weather.
Did I enjoy it? Not that part and not particularly when I have to get something more bulky, but we’ve managed fine, and that shouldn’t be surprising. Councillor Quax can’t comprehend it because he’s got a tiny brain and blurred vision. A significant number of people in the Western world enjoy a bit of quaxing, and far more could if they saw the benefit and were motivated enough to.
I’m not saying that anyone is better because they “quax”, or that you are a bad person because you don’t. I am saying that many, many people can do it who currently don’t, and many, many more can get their quax on if cities work to accommodate that with more cycle routes, better bike parking, and public transit routes that bring people to and from shopping locations.
I quax because I have to, but I have to because I’ve chosen to, and I think I’m better off in the long run. Plus, I’m not contributing to all the products of “traffic” that everyone complains about.
Please, don’t be a Dick and fall for the assertion that normal life can’t be lived without a car. In fact, in many cases, it can be lived better.
Header image: source