Monday, June 04, 2012

Living life car-free

Recently, I was lucky enough to have access to my boyfriend's ex's car while he was away in India. For nearly three weeks, I was the proud care-taker of a generic blue Astra. It felt very luxurious to be behind the wheel again - I'd forgotten how lovely that feeling of freedom is, speeding along the highway through unknown suburbs and towns; being able to change your destination on a whim; staying in a warm bubble from door to door.

And yet... I still don't want my own car.

Having a vehicle for this time reminded me how the act of driving tends to bring out the worst in people (or is it just me?).

Traffic - on my bike, I sail past the queues of cars, straight up to the lights. In a car, I fume and rant and become ridiculously impatient with my fellow car drivers within mere seconds of pulling my seatbelt on.

Parking - hellish, especially when you're used to pulling up literally anywhere and hitching your ride to the nearest pole. See also 'Cost'.

Owning a car makes you lazy - if there's a car there, it's that much easier to jump in and drive down the road rather than walking or getting on your bike, even if you love walking and getting on your bike (and I do).

Greed for speed - when you're doing 20k on a bike, you really feel how fast you're going. You're working for that movement. On a freeway, 80k feels like you're crawling - you barely feel like you're moving at all. It just makes you want to go faster. There's no sensation of the energy spent to transport you at that speed.

Cost - do you know how much a tank of petrol costs these days?? I didn't. Also, I got a parking fine of $160 (or 'vague tax' as I like to think of it).

So all up, I enjoyed my time on four wheels - especially visiting far-flung friends who insist on living miles from the nearest rail station - but I wasn't sad to hand back the keys. I think my bike missed me while I played at car ownership. I know I missed her.

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