A Month With No Car


Monday marked the end of our self-imposed carless month, and we celebrated with a drive to the landfill to take last month’s trash.I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the happy side-effects of buying very little pre-made foods and using cloth diapers is that we generate very little trash – less than one ten-gallon (kitchen) sized bag per week (or, one can-full per month), and not too much recycling, either (this is actually two months of recycling).  That will certainly go in our favor, because if we get rid of the car we’ll have to start paying for trash/recycling collection at our house, which is not too expensive, but is per bag.

I know a lot of you are wondering how the month went.  Between, Sunday, November 20 and Sunday, December 18, we drove our car five times.  One expected trip to the landfill, and four unexpected trips: once for an evening meeting with a web design client; once when we were going to a party, having a rough time getting out the door, were already late, and I just couldn’t rally for the bike ride, which would have taken 20-30 minutes; again, later that same day, because we had company and they wanted to go by the liquor store before dinner (and the one in town was closed); and once when Pip got out of our fence and our neighbor couldn’t keep him or get a hold of me, so she called animal control and I had to go pick him up at the MSPCA (yes, that was incredibly annoying and embarrassing).  Out of those four times, the only two that really actually required a car were picking up Pip and the client meeting; the other two could have been done without a car or not done at all.  Cab fair on island is relatively inexpensive, and they do carry dogs ($2 fee); even if we had used taxis all four times, the total cost would have been much less than what we spend on our car.

When we weren’t in the car, we mostly walked.  We lucked out this month; the average high temperature was 56 degrees F.  But, there was some rain and there were some days in the low 40s, for which we just bundled up.Nora and I are lucky in that, for the most part, we don’t have to go anywhere, so if the weather is truly, really bad then we can just stay home.  In general, though I subscribe to the thought that,

There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.

Winter by this time last year was already much colder than this one, and I still went out, with both babies bundled up a la The Christmas Story,  so I’m not worried about our trial period being too warm.  I already knew I could do it, the experiment was more about Chris than me and Nora — and he only rode in the car once, for that trip to the liquor store!

We haven’t made our minds up yet, but Chris and I are definitely leaning toward trying to sell the car.  Yes, without a car, there will be moments when we miss having one, but they won’t be anything more than minor inconveniences.  Living where we live on island, less than a mile to everything, a car is much less of a necessity than it might be living in the rest of America.  And, the older I get, the faster time seems to fly, which means two-three years will be over before we know it.  If we do sell our car, we intend to put aside some of the money we make from the sale (remember, it’s worth more than we owe) in case we need to buy another one.

No decisions have been made yet.  We’ll be spending a few weeks seriously considering the idea and deciding if it is something we want to commit to, during which time we will be talking with our friends and family to get as many opinions as possible.  If you have any thoughts on the matter, leave me a comment — I’d love to hear them.

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One response

  1. Lovelorn Poets Avatar
    Lovelorn Poets

    I’m glad to hear that the trial went well! I’ll admit that I was someone in the “don’t sell it” camp, but perhaps it can be done successfully with minimal discomfort and additional transportation expenses. Can’t wait to hear what you and Chris ultimately decide to do. Have a fun holiday in Texas!

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