In the last couple of years, I have moved from Bremerton, to Redmond, and last July, to Eastlake, in Seattle. When you live in the 'burbs, you have to have a car. There is pretty much no way to get around except by automobile. Grocery shopping, work, errands, going out, it all requires a vehicle. This is one of the reasons why I moved into the city. So I wouldn't be so reliant on my car. And when I did use a car, my trip would be a short one.
After moving in, I started riding the bus to work. My employer provides me a bus pass, which is good for a year. It takes me about an hour each way to get to and from work on the bus. The same commute takes about 20 to 30 minutes in good traffic, 60 in bad.
Toward the end of September, I was coming home from Neighbours on a Thursday night (sadly, Thursday nights are no longer so fun, but that is another entry), and I shifted from 3rd to 2nd going round the corner onto Lake View Blvd. Except that the shifter wouldn't go into 2nd. It stuck in neutral. So I coasted to a stop, and no amount of pushing would get it to go into gear. I called a tow truck, and had my car towed to my apartment, because I didn't know what shop I could tow the thing to. At 1:30 a.m., I didn't really have the means to do any research into the matter either.
That night, I decided to see if I could do without a car. I got up the next morning and took the bus to work like normal. And for the next 7½ months, I did without a car. I took the bus to work. I scheduled my errands. I cabbed from Larry's on Queene Anne for my groceries. I cabbed or bussed to clubs at night. I rented a car occasionally when I needed one for work. For the most part it worked.
Getting groceries to Eastlake without a vehicle is a pain in the ass, as there are no grocery stores in the neighborhood. Clubs weren't too difficult. Errands were, unless I could take car of them downtown or in the U-District. I had to get my couch cushions cleaned, and the leather cleaning place was on Elliott Ave west of Queene Anne. Not easy to get to. Getting to the funeral home in Edmonds to plan my brother's funeral was difficult. But by and large, the difficulties could be worked around.
I signed up for this mountaineering class through the YMCA. Our first "practice climb" was to be up Mt. Si. My ride did not show, and I didn't have a backup. So I decided to see about getting my car fixed. It's been about a month now since it has been fixed.
There have been some pluses. I was able to make a Costco run. I can get groceries. Getting to clubs has been easier and cheaper. I haven't had to rely on someone else for my rides for the mountaineering class.
But there have also been some serious minuses. I stopped working out. It was easy to get off and work out at the Y when I was riding the bus. But driving, well that's another story. Who wants to find parking downtown, or get on the bus and go back downtown to workout after I get home. I also haven't been making use of the extra time I have at home. No extra reading, or finishing projects.
So, I have come to a momentous conclusion. Except for the things that are a complete pain in the ass to do without my own car, I will stop using it. Tomorrow morning, I will get up a little bit earlier and ride the bus to work. I will get off on my way home and work out at the Y and probably get home around 7 p.m. I will try to get some errands done on my way to and from work. Perhaps I will even solve the problem of world peace.