They Say Cities Should Be Built for People, Not Cars. But How Do I Tell That to My Husband, Lightning McQueen? 

Urban planners and environmentalists have been pushing the idea that urban centers should maximize space for pedestrians, cyclists, and accessible public transportation. In other words, they claim that cities are for people, not for cars, and they do so with the verve of the morally righteous. But how exactly am I supposed to tell that to my kind and loving husband, Montgomery “Lightning” McQueen?


To many people, Montgomery is just some sexy guy with the voice of Owen Wilson and the body of a red racecar, but he’s also my husband, and I kindly invite any New Urbanist to come into my garage, look my spouse in his ginormous windshield eyes, and tell him that cities aren’t for him. Really, I beg of you.


God knows I don’t have the heart to do it.



Some will argue that cars make cities louder, the air more polluted, the cyclists more violently struck by them. And I hear all of these concerns, but weren’t cars, too, built for people? To take the Great American Road Trip, to pack up the trunk and drop your kid off at college, to become eternally bound to in holy matrimony til’ death do you part and yeah sexual chemistry is a big part of the relationship but it’s none of your business? I think the answer is yes, and that such specimens should be treated with more respect than snarky slogans that try and shame and banish them from public space.


I want cities to be designed in a way that is beneficial to humans, but anthropomorphic cars are humans, too. Do you want more protected bike lanes? I want my hubby to be protected from your ideological attacks.


So next time you go to make a statement that’s dismissive of cars and their right to exist freely in our supposedly inclusive cities, picture me: a 27-year-old woman standing in front of a car who’s 18 years her senior but it’s kind of an Edward and Bella thing where he doesn’t age so we both feel fine about it, and trying to tell him he isn’t welcome in our metropolis. Picture the tears rolling down his fucking huge windshield eyes, and him having to use the windshield wipers to clear them, and then I’m crying and he tries to use his windshield wipers to clear my tears, but that’s not going to work. That could literally blind me. Blind. That’s how serious this is.


And remember: life is a highway, not a goddamn walkable plaza. I love you, baby!