Friday, July 18, 2008

How we gave up our car

When Angela and I were first married, we had a car. It was an adorable little 1987 Mazda pickup truck, at the time about 15 years old. It had been my father’s truck, and then my sister’s, and then mine. My little Mazda had moved me and all my belongings to my new life in Boston when I moved here from Nebraska in 2002. I loved that truck. It had beautiful highwalls that I made with my father and painted with bright red and orange flames with my sister. What a fabulous truck. Angela and I logged at least 10,000 miles in road trips in that truck during our first 2 years together.

But as time wore on, the repair bills mounted, parking tickets kept coming despite our best efforts, and frustration grew alongside the love. One day when we were house-sitting, the truck wouldn't shift anymore and breathed it’s last gasp in the driveway of our temporary suburban home. We decided not to attempt resuscitation. We were almost happy to see it go. At the time we were stranded in a Boston suburb, house-sitting for a colleague. We were each about 7 miles from work, with limited non-car access to groceries and other necessities. The bus and train routes from the suburb into town were extremely inconvenient. But we managed. We figured out the few buses, biked extensively, and found that we were happy not to have the car. If we could be car-free in Newton, we figured we would be even happier to be car-free in town, where work commutes were reasonable and there was ample convenient public transit. We never looked back.


Charlotte said...

I gave up my Mazda after driving to Cambridge from Colorado. I did love that car. Now we're frustrated with repair bills for a Subaru and I'm contemplating being car-free again. We NEVER drive it (well, once a month to see my in-laws), but some vestigial teenager in me clings to the 'option' of having a car somewhere, just in case. I'm going to have to read about how you handled the early months of H's life - my biggest concern is the time between a possible future baby's birth and the point where she can wear a bike helmet.