Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just Call me the Reluctant Driver

When I moved to Boston in 2001, I came without a car and remained blissfully carless for the following 11 years. I was not only content, but actually happy to walk and take public transportation 99% of the time. I loved walking through the park to get across town and riding the train over the bridge to Cambridge. Train rides became my time to think, read, and listen to music. The skyline view over the Longfellow Bridge made me smile and feel thankful to live in such a beautiful city every time I passed it.

While working for Google, not only was my train pass paid for, but I was also able to drive Zipcars for free by participating in the company's Zipcar incentive program. On rare occasions when a car was required (usually for thrifting outings) I could hop in one of the dozens of cars parked within a few minute walk of my condo and cruise around for half an hour or a full day for free.

All of this meant that my yearly spend for transportation came to a whopping $0. Living car free, while not for everyone and not for every city, is completely liberating as far as I am concerned. No car payment, no insurance payment, no gas bill, no parking bill, no car repair costs, and no road rage. But the most important benefit to me was being one less person pumping pollution into the air. Getting off my butt and walking to get where I needed to go felt right and it felt good.

Well, all of that is about to change. Living car free in downtown Boston is easy, but not feasible in rural Vermont. There is no public transportation, we are not within a reasonable walking distance from town, and if I am going to get this vintage business a fair shot, I'll need to drive long distances to hit up flea markets and estate sales. Before moving I privately brainstormed ideas for transportation modes not involving a car, but seeing as though "horse and buggy" was the only option I could come up with, I resigned myself to the fact that I would need to give in and buy a car eventually.

That day came yesterday when we drove off the dealership lot with a shiny sage green 2009 Subaru Forester. While I am still not loving the fact that I have to drive to get everywhere, I must admit that it will make life more convenient. Next week it will come in handy when we pick up my parents in Boston and drive the 2.5 hours back to VT with them in tow. That trip is not very pleasant crammed in the back seat of Josh's Toyota Tacoma access cab.

For now I will appreciate this new "luxury" but remain a reluctant driver, looking forward to the day we have a clean, low-impact way to get from one place to another.


  1. You have my utmost admiration for staying carless all those years. It would have helped the environment greatly if everybody is such a conscientious, reluctant car owner as you are! ~LC

  2. "were"

    (My inner grammar police is chasing after myself right now...) ~LC