“The Gray Tiger” is based on the parable of riding the tiger:
A man rode through town on a tiger.
Sleek, muscular, beautiful and fast, but also dangerous
Somebody asked him, as the tiger strode past “Why are you riding a tiger?”
“Because I cannot get off!” he replied in a panic.
AKA traffic. The powerful beast America cannot get off of , of it is too powerful. Of course, most enjoy the ride, as it is easier to let a machine that weighs 10x as much as us and can easily move over 10x as fast as us. That is damned convenient, especially when we’ve built America to fit the car for the last 80 years. But there is a cost to traffic dependence, and there is a way out of traffic dependence. One that doesn’t require the diligent application of ingenious architects and advocates working through the nights to present bold visions of the future that sweep the public, politicians and naysayers before them after a 2-5 year public process, for each and every development.
“The Gray Tiger” was the title of my book until I realized my title required explaining. Even a little explaining is infinitely worse than no explaining. The magic of good nonfiction titles is that the title tells the whole story of the book, and get readers to open the pages. I came up with that title a little over a year ago, when I chucked the hot mess of a book I was shuffling through, and decided to write a better, more focused one.
My family pointed out to me that “The Gray Tiger” was a little off topic. That if my book was about transportation choice that the title should be about transportation choice, too. Not just traffic. The only other person who has only read the book cover to cover, said I should name the book “Lifestyles of Proximity” a tittle I have always found unbearably dry and didactic. I’m more against a dry title than I am colons in titles. The title “The Gray Tiger” came to me in a fugue of creative destruction last summer, and I was fond of it. I now see that they had a point. Time to kill the darling.
I’m not using this metaphor anymore, you can have it.