Carless in the city – the great no car experiment of 2013
I’d love to say this is a post which has been inspired by watching No Impact Man the other day. We all know that I am rather the hippy, so it would be nice to think that I had taken some inspiration from this movie about no impact living and decided to live without a car.
The truth is a lot less inspiring!
2 days before Christmas the Astra gave up the ghost, in pretty spectacular and final style. The timing chain, which apparently never needs replacing, broke. In layman’s terms, when the timing chain (or belt) breaks, things bang into other things which results in you requiring a new engine for your car.
It turns out that it will cost approximately the value of the car less $1,000 to repair which means it is kaput. Our only car.
So why will we be carless for a few months? Put simply, we just can’t afford to replace it. Because our accountant is fabulously awesome, we will have finance in a few weeks though, so we are fortunate we will be able to commence shopping then though, so don’t feel too bad for us.
There are a few silver linings to be had here.
- Reading my previous car woes post, I am reminded of how I felt that day when I turned the key and the car wouldn’t start. Absolutely defeated, to the point where I couldn’t muster the energy to really feel any emotion about the situation.
This time, due in no small part to the brilliant psychologist and psychiatrist I worked with last year, I didn’t feel any emotion this time either – because it wasn’t a situation really worth wasting emotion and energy on. It happened, and that was that. And I was so proud of myself (yes me – proud of myself) because this was the way I truly felt, reflexively. There was no internal chatter required to get there, this is a huge deal for me.
- Being Christmas, we didn’t really have anywhere to be so it was no big deal to be without a car. The flipside of this of course is that being Christmas all of the companies involved with repairing a car or financing a new one were closed.
Shopping for Christmas presents and food on the bus was an interesting experience to say the least, though not impossible.
- At least it was the car dying 2 days before Christmas, and not the fridge like last year.
- A new car, eventually.
- When we bought our house we were adamant that it needed to be walking distance from a supermarket, butcher, grocer and trainstation. It is also walking distance to Moopy’s kinder so theoretically it will be possible to live without a car.
And so, we are carless in the city. Well, suburbs.
I guess in part we have been inspired by No Impact Man, as we decided against renting a car or looking for one to borrow. Yay us! Yay No Impact Man!
It’s been two weeks so far, and we’re managing ok. I made it to a doctors appointment in the city in 41 degree heat (that’s 106 degrees for you imperialists) without dying. We can get to the beach and back with a 10 minute bus trip. A trek to the supermarket with all of us on bikes with backpacks was pretty fun, and supermarket shopping with Moopy is usually anything but.
Hopefully being carless for such an extended period will give us some new, healthier, more responsible habits which we will keep when our gas guzzling, 4WD people mover arrives.