On Tuesday October 30 2012 at approximately 11.30am I was given the news my car had failed its MOT. I gave a slight gasp as I had already parted with lots of money in May to fix things. So bodywork falling apart I had not anticipated (maybe in comparison with my own bodywork the cars looked fine). The news deepened into a tragedy. For the price so far mentioned was just for the part and did not include the labour. And to dissemble and re-assembly could take two days. I could feel myself slipping into shock/horror and the dreaded tears. But I stammered on trying to listen and leave with some dignity as I wrote out a cheque to pay for well, nothing except that this knowledge was to force me to face a few facts of life.
As I drove home quietly sobbing feeling defeated, scared and helpless I realized owning a car now was just not on. Through the next few hours I started to look clearly at when I used the car, what for and how much it was costing. Slowly the truth emerged clearly through the haze of habit, laziness, pride that my car was now simply a luxury. I did not have to go anywhere regularly, in fact I would actually worry because I hadn’t taken the car out! I have for last few years used the internet more and more for purchases including a weekly grocery order. All I could honestly find I really needed it for was carrying dog food, chicken food and bird seed, a bale of straw now and then and taking my dog to a walk just up the road we enjoy for a change. Its useful for picking up family and friends if/when they come to stay. Its useful when you want to go to the theatre or some social gathering in the evening. So I looked at how my life was now panning out.
I hardly ever go out in the evening and that is not going to change. And if something wonderful came up I would get there somehow. I’m sure my family and friends could cope with taxis or buses ( I would still meet them and thats the lovely bit). I need never worry about tax discs, insurance and MOT’s. I need never worry about the price of petrol. I can stop worrying about cars and enjoy the journeys. I wave my lovely little card and sit down and concentrate on where I’m about to go, enjoying the mini adventures. I don’t have to park. I get on and get off. FREE. Where is the problem, where is the dilemma. I’m car free. And already it feels good and the car is still here but not for long!
So for the next few days I will be frantically stocking up with dog food etc. etc. and checking up on bus times. I know I shall miss the luxury of having a car apart from anything else I love driving but this is a new challenge and I know I shall relish the delights and the drawbacks. Must make sure I have some really warm boots. As I am a knitter the woollen gloves, scarves, hats are no problem.
I really had no idea how stressful it was having a car when you use it very little. I really love walking my dog everyday but having to take a car out for its health really is stretching affection a bit to far.
So on Thursday or Friday I will start using my buspass with new respect and gratitude. And I can splash out on a coffee! Whoopee!