You know that article where I complained that I didn’t have any idea what I was doing and questioned all my opinions and decisions in life? What if I’m wrong about everything? Shunning cars is one of those opinions I think I may be wrong about.
For over nine years, I didn’t have a car. Working in Chicago and Sydney and then nomading, I didn’t need one. I preached that nobody needed a car and touted it as one of the many ways you could retire early.
Walking is more fun and better for you. Biking supplements when walking takes too long. Public transportation intervenes when biking and walking fail. Ubers and Lyfts and a car-sharing service like Zip Car fill in the remaining gaps.
Not owning a car is a great way to live.
Except I think I’m wrong.
Because owning a car is great. I don’t think I counted the sheer convenience factor high enough when I calculate the joy of having a car. It is ridiculously convenient.
I never used to use the tabs on google maps for driving, but wow, is it faster than public transportation. So much faster.
So, yeah, I bought a car. My parents sold it to me for a dollar that I still haven’t given them. It’s the family car, a 16-year old Toyota Corolla with 150,000 miles on it and a good attitude. It was titled in my mom and my sister’s name. My dad put the down payment on it in late 2003 (my parents prefer new cars) and I made the monthly payments for three years. In 2009, after law school, I gave her back to my parents. Like I said, family car.
She’s mine again. And I love her. I love having her. Having a car makes life bigger, so much bigger.
When I first stayed in Colorado, I house sat all over the place from the south side of sprawly Denver, to a northern suburb, to Boulder and beyond. As a result, I have a lot of friends in different areas.
The best thing about retirement is my ability to say yes! to adventure that comes up. Let’s do things and experience life. A car makes that easier. I would decline more than half the invitations I received if I didn’t have a car.
And I like saying yes when friends invite me.
Having a car opens up your world and allows you to cultivate friendships with people that are a bit more distant.
So that’s the positives and why I “bought” a car. I love her, but I do miss the days without her.
The bad thing about being a lawyer is my tendency to argue both sides. Both sides usually have merit.
Cars aren’t cheap. They’re a significant expense.
Car insurance: $500/year
Registration: – $100/year
Oil changes: $50/year
She takes more of my money that I’d like.
More than the cost, though, I just really hate cars. I count any time spent in that moving box, alone and driving, as a net negative on my happiness. Every ounce of me screams not to be driving when I’m driving because I hate driving. So much responsibility and possibility of death or maiming lies in every minute spent behind the wheel. All my body parts, especially my legs, ache to be anywhere but where they are.
I don’t know the answer. I can’t wait until self driving cars become the norm.