Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Special Anniversary Today

Hello everyone! No, I haven't been sick with this cold/flu now for a year, but it sure as hell feels like it!!!!

One year ago today, I stopped using my car.


Well, it pretty much stopped working. My 14yr old Toyota Corolla, a.k.a. Scooter, had finally had enough. There were several things wrong with him, all of which cost lots of money - more money than I could trade/sell him for...

So then the question became, do I fix him or get a new car?

I did neither and donated Scooter to one of my favorite charities. It was the best thing for him, and for me, and it took me waaaay too long to make that decision.

Bottom line, Spencer and I take public transit or walk everywhere we want to go. We are fortunate in that 2 different bus lines stop at the corner by our apartment to take us to many wonderful places - the best of which is the BART station - which in turn connects us to the rest of the Bay Area.

If we have visitors in from out of town, like Mom and Sis, or Honey, I rent a car. When I took the boys to Kublacon, I rented a car. If I ever need a car, I rent it - and it's not very often. The folks at the local rental car company are my buddies.

Several very awesome friends and even the Ex have loaned me their cars when they've gone on vacation. And those same friends, and others, and the Ex have graciously given us rides every now and then.

Once we sort out our bicycle situation, we'll have yet another mode of transport. Spencer's bike needs a tune-up and mine...well, Ms Puffy wasn't cut out to carry my weight (I've gained and it's too much for her to carry me and groceries), so I'm going later to check out some bikes while Spencer turns in his bike for the tune-up. Ms Puffy will be donated to my favorite thrift store where someone smaller will get much more use out of her and not try to kill her with weight.

And you just know mine is going to be tricked out with fenders ( I hate getting muddy stripes up my back when it rains), a back rack, and baskets all around! Cos I plan on taking my new bike everywhere. Just hope I can find one that can handle it.

Do I miss not having a car? Not really. I won't lie and say no all the way, because there have been several times that it would have been so much easier to hop in the car and pop here and there real quick like.

Not having a car though really makes you think. You really have to think about how you are going to get somewhere. Is the trip really necessary? How early do you need to catch the bus - don't forget to factor in if the bus or the train is late! Can you combine a bunch of things into this one trip out? Could you walk? Do you REALLY need that one it important enough to take the bus all this way and take all this time...just for that one little something?

The benefits of not having a car? The obvious ones: no car payment, no insurance payment, no maintenance, no parking fees, no high gas prices, no registration, no smog check. The not so obvious ones: I spend less money since I can't just hop in a car and drive myself to a store because I'm bored, we only buy what we absolutely need because we have to plan our trip and then carry it all home, our carbon footprint is a whole lot smaller now, we get out and walk more. Ummm...that's not to say we don't go crazy and buy stuff we don't need though (i.e. all that yarn I stuffed into my cart today...and the xbox we bought a few weeks back).

Speaking of walking... I found out that within less than 2 miles of my apartment in any direction, is a total of 4 major grocery stores, a zillion restaurants, a post office, a pet store, 3 hardware stores, and so much more, it's incredible. And here, I've been hopping in Scooter and driving to all these places all these years. Sigh.

Speaking of bus rides...I can take the bus in any direction from my apartment and in 10-20 minutes I could be at 3 different BART stations, two local downtown areas, 2 different craft stores, 2 different games stores, movie theatres, our family doctors, a Target, new book stores, used book stores, the car rental place, and the list goes on and on.

I swear, Spencer and I go out more and see more things now than we've ever done before.

And you know the best benefit of not having a car? I get to hang out with... The. Best. Cart. Ever. Made....EVER! Dot.

And we won't discuss the very bad things she hears pouring out of my mouth when the bus is late. Yeah, that's a major down side, but not enough to make me go out and pay high gas prices, get a car payment, pay insurance premiums, get the car licensed and registered....or get stuck in traffic.

Will I ever get another car? Yes, eventually - and I do check out cars constantly so that I know what I want when I finally do decide to get motoring again. In the mean time, I've gotten used to using public transit and look forward to tooling around on my new bike when I get it. Oh, and what's really cool? The buses have bike racks and you can take your bike on BART. If I ever get tired, we both can have a ride. hee hee

I heart Dot, my BART EZRider Pass, my bus pass and my Translink card.

1 comment:

  1. So the other day when we were emailing about the classes, you had mentioned about needing to figure out buses. I had no idea you totally gave up the car! I knew Scooter died, but I guess I just assumed you got a new car (I think there was a picture of a red little thing when Ms. Puffy came home). But then I remember the-Ex loaning you his car... and well.. I guess it went over my head.

    Good for you!

    Sometimes I wonder if we could go down to one car. I'm sure we COULD, but I don't want to. I also don't want to look at the credit card statement to see how much I've spent on gas and bridge toll. At least we take my little gas efficient car when we can, and leave the gas guzzling truck at home as much as possible.