The scene: A small room set up for an interview. Two comfortable chairs, face a table with some mineral water and artificial flowers. There’s a very bland picture on the wall. Julia and Nigel are sitting in the chairs and, Julia seems to be doing most of the talking.

Julia: Hello again Nigel. How are you feeling?
Nigel: Terrible.
Julia: It’s okay, that’s normal at this stage of the therapy.
Nigel: You mean it gets better?
Julia: Probably not. Now, I’ve got the report from the workshop you attended last week: „Buying Petrol“. They say you didn’t do too badly, although you did have trouble paying.
Nigel: So… much… money…
Julia: You’ll get used to it, Nigel. They also say you only half-filled the tank. That’s okay for now, don’t worry. So tell me how the week went.
Nigel: Well, I drove around for about twenty minutes on Friday …used the car to get to work on Monday. And Tuesday…
Julia: Good, well done. And what about Saturday?
Nigel: Er… no.
Julia: Why not?
Nigel: (Shifty) I didn’t go anywhere on Saturday.
Julia: Really?
Nigel. No…
Julia: What happened on Saturday Nigel?
Nigel: I… I…
Julia: You went cycling, didn’t you Nigel?
Nigel: Well… Yeah.
Julia: Nigel, you really have to try harder than this. I know you’re gaining weight and getting more aggressive than you were, but that won’t last as long as you keep taking bike rides on the quiet.
Nigel: I know… I couldn’t stop myself. I deliberately stayed in bed late so I’d have to rush to get the milk, like you said. And I kept telling myself „Cycling is dangerous, Cycling is inconvenient and too much work“
Julia: Good, and then?
Nigel: Well, I went downstairs and saw my bike and I thought I’d move it… and the next thing I knew I was riding down the road and I’d forgotten about the milk and it was three hours later… But the strange thing was…
Julia: What?
Nigel: I felt happier after that than I felt all week. I was smiling, and I didn’t swear at Mrs. Smith, I even offered to help her with the rubbish bin, I haven’t done that for ages.
Julia: Mrs. Smith?
Nigel: My designated target of undeserved anger and abuse.
Julia: Nigel, you still haven’t managed a week of driving yet. I can’t recommend you for the next stage of training as a proper member of society until you are being aggressive and unhealthy at least seven days, and that requires driving.
Nigel: I know… I’m trying, I really am…
Julia: What about yesterday?
Nigel: (Suddenly nervous) Yesterday?
Julia: You mentioned Monday and Tuesday, now it’s Thursday. Yesterday was supposed to be your first unaccompanied pavement parking day. Did you do it?
Nigel: I tried. The car wouldn’t start: I turned the key thingy in the hole and it made a whirring sound and that was it.
Julia: (Sighs) Did you put petrol in since the workshop?
Nigel: You mean you have to do it twice?
Julia: Several times a week, Nigel.
Nigel: I can’t afford that.
Julia: You have to be able to afford that from now on. A lot of people are depending on you Nigel: mechanics, banks, investors, oil executives who haven’t had a raise in a fortnight, and  third world dictators who need your money to pay for their military hardware and private villas. Not to mention the doctors and nurses who depend on the pollution you make to keep them working.
Nigel: But… It doesn’t make any sense… You really mean everyone has to be miserable so the system will work?
Julia: What would happen when everyone thought about how much it costs, and stopped driving? Hardly any children would be admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties, obesity would drop… think what would happen to the healthcare system, the pharmaceutical industry. That’s why having a car is so important: It shows you are a Good Citizen, contributing to society.
Nigel: It’s no good, I can’t do it.
Julia: Be careful, Nigel, I could throw you off the course. You’ll be considered odd by everyone you meet for not having a car. People will make assumptions about your income and your emotional stability when they see you on the street. How will you manage to be aggressive?
Nigel: But… what if I don’t what that?
Julia: (The big one) Your earning potential could drop…
Nigel: But… Hang on. I don’t have to keep buying petrol, so that’s not a big deal.
Julia: But you are so close to the next level of initiation, the right to use the new slogan „Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Bad“, and the free pink Furry Dice.
Nigel: (He’s tempted) Pink furry dice?
Julia: To hang on the rear view mirror. (dangling dice) think about it…
Nigel: Hmm… fresh air…
Julia: Nigel. Don’t throw it all away.
Nigel: The feeling of having achieved something when I get home…
Julia: No! Fight it, Nigel! Remember: Cycling is dangerous! Cycling is inconvenient! Cycling is hard work! Think of those poor oil executives!
Nigel: I can’t do it. I need the fresh air… To see sky… (Exit)
Julia: (shouting after him) I’ll throw you off the course…
Nigel: (in the distance) Do it! (Car keys fly through the door onto the table)
Julia: (Gets up and follows) How can you be so selfish? (Exit after Mike)

(Hat tip to the Champaign-Urbana blog for the link to ‘How to give up cycling‘ Which set me off thinking about this.)

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