Really, he did.
No, I am not grounded.
The car has become... an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete. ~ Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964
I've been mentally working towards this state of car-less-ness for a while now. It occurred to me several months ago that I don't really need a car as long as I'm living and working where I am. But when it came time to act on this realization, I kept chickening out. The idea of not having a car reminds me of those bad dreams you had about high school when you showed up for class without any pants on. The idea of not having a car was scarier than the actuality of not having a car, especially since I've had a car pretty much from the day I learned to drive.
I was afraid I would be rendered helpless.
Car sickness is the feeling you get when the monthly payment is due. ~ Author Unknown
I've been paying hundreds of dollars every month for my beloved Passat to sit in the garage. Ever since I moved to the city, I've been getting around and enjoying San Francisco primarily via Muni, taxis and walking. This is quite a change from my former life, where no car = no life. But spending all that money for the possibility of needing a car, it just didn't make sense no matter how my imaginary fears tried to convince me how real they were. Plus, there are car share programs I can participate in, as well as renting a car, if I get in a bind and really need some wheels (for what, I cannot imagine now). And even then, it will still be more economical than more years of car payments.
My dad needs a reliable car and I don't. So we're helping each other out and I think it's really the best of both worlds.
Saturday was the big day. I took a deep breath, handed over both sets of car keys to my dad (with a tiny lump in my throat, I will admit) and The Boy and I took CalTrain and Muni back home. And you know what, it was fun. The pressure was off. We read, had some snacks, looked out the windows.
I came back down to San Jose on Monday, to see my grandma who is in the hospital. Same drill: Muni to CalTrain and same thing back home. I really felt something I can only call relief at not having to drive. It was an odd and pleasant feeling, and certainly not one I had expected to have.
Something about the act of travel made me slow down and enjoy the journey itself. I think I am so driven all of the time. I am always in the driver's seat. It took a long train ride to make me realize that it's okay to just go along for the ride, too. You don't always have to be the one in charge...and you'll still get where you need to go.
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Really, he did.