Photo: AMCImagine a successful young actor in Los Angeles who doesn’t own a car. Not only that, he chooses not to drive because he would rather interact with other human beings than speed down the freeway in his own private world.
In Sunday’s The New York Times, there’s an article about Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the despicable Pete Campbell in the AMC hit series Mad Men. Writer Tricia Romano went for a ride on L.A.’s Metro with Kartheiser, who hasn’t owned a car for more than three years:
To go downtown where “Mad Men” is filmed, he takes either the Red Line or two buses. He reads, does crossword puzzles and goes over his lines.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “Instead of driving and being stressed out about traffic, you can work your scene, you can do your exercises or whatever on the bus. Everyone’s got their own deal.” …
“They’ve done a study and they’ve found that people under 30 no longer view cars as status symbols or even positive things,” Mr. Kartheiser said. “They look at them as pollutants.”
Earlier in the evening, on the way to the restaurant, Mr. Kartheiser had ruminated about his choice to be carless.
“I like that my life slows down when I go places,” he said. “I have all these interactions with the human race and I can watch people living their life and not just in their car.”
Is it going to change the world that a young actor gets some positive press for taking public transportation? Nah. But it’s kind of nice to see transit portrayed in mainstream media as something to be enjoyed by a guy who obviously has other options.