I know next to nothing about cars, apart from how to operate them, so when my brother told me on Sunday that the car wouldn’t start (this a week after a heat shield fell off), I expected the worst. The car was also ‘out of oil’, which is really, really bad, so I thought we had broken the car permanently.
Turns out the starter was shot, which is an easy enough fix, and pretty expected as it was at least eight years old, and that we had idiotically missed our last scheduled oil change (no real harm done). Phew.
I don’t drive a lot. Or, rather, I don’t drive often (I did go 900km in one day recently, and 400km not long before that). I like driving on the highway, especially if I get to choose the soundtrack and there is no particular deadline as to when I need to be somewhere. But for day to day life, it’s fairly unnecessary, especially at this time of year. Almost all of my errands are done by bike (I’m even stopping at the cash & carry today for an emergency straw purchase), Weebro picks up smaller groceries on foot. Our car is mostly essential for visiting friends and work-based errands.
So, when this car (inherited from Mum) falls to bits, I won’t replace it. Even though, likely because it isn’t driven all that much, its maintenance costs are really not prohibitive, and we have a driveway in which to keep it, I don’t particularly NEED it. My brother might once he’s finally employed (someone please hire him? he’s quiet and not good at selling himself and depressed about the lack of nibbles, but a very clever and talented programmer), he might, I suppose, though commuting by car every day doesn’t appeal to him much either (though, neither does the bus – and who can blame him).
Pretty much anyone who has ever been in a car with me knows that I am ill-suited to city traffic. I am extremely impatient, strangely unaware of the layout of my own city given that I’ve lived here for 95% of my life*, and despair when I’m not in control of my own destiny.
That last quality is never more apparent than when I am stuck in unmoving traffic. There is something so fundamentally frustrating about being stuck in between two exits on the highway for more than, say, fifteen seconds, that I start tapping into my chimp brain, getting awfully close to a reality where I could be arrested for getting out of my car to jump up and down on the roof screeching obscenities (poo-throwing would be a bonus, but I’ve never been a rage shitter and I don’t know if I have it in me).
That having been said, I am not one of those people who holds grudges against people who cut me off. I have been a passenger when friends have decided to follow some jerkass driver for a while to honk at/scare them for a bit; I feared for my life (and the life of the other driver), even though nothing happened.
So, it’s definitely the not knowing how/when I can get where I need to go that is the problem. I get similarly ragey when I’m on a bus that is taking a time-stop for no reason, but at least then I can distract myself with a book, or get off the bus and walk the rest of the way, even though it means I’m wasting my $3 for no reason. (SERIOUSLY HOW IS BUS FARE NOW $3?!)
I’m not fully committed to biking this winter (I usually keep it up until the snowbanks and road salt make it impractical), but I am seriously considering walking, at least sometimes, to avoid driving or the bus. Sure, it makes my commute a little over an hour, but I can meander, I can explore, or I can take the shortest (and windiest) path. And avoid getting my blood boiling before I see my first work emails of the day, which would be a nice change.
Who am I kidding? Winter here is cold. Often very cold. And I like sleeping. And I check my work email before I leave the house. THIS WILL SOLVE NOTHING.
However, buying ~10 boxes of milkshake straws and bringing them to work in my girly shopping panniers will make me smugly happy for at least a little while. The end of biking season is at least three months away (knock wood). I will miss the self-satisfied glee and happy endorphins it gives me (almost) every day.
* No lie, I need a passenger to give directions to the Trainyards EVERY TIME I go there, even though one can see it from the highway. And then I need directing through the parking lot. Ditto the Costco on Cyrville.