Going Car-less

My experiences with the DMV aka double jeopardy tax collection agency, the greatest racket in the history of mankind auto mechanic, and owning a car in a city where your length of residence can be read, like tree rings, by the number of dents and broken sideview mirrors it has, leads me to seriously contemplate selling my car.

It’s no surprise to anyone that cars are money pits.  Even late model cars like mine chew up dollars in gas, maintenance and fees.  On a recent Bataan death march to my mechanic I was given an estimate for $3,000 in general upkeep repairs, including $500 (!) for a replacement passenger side rearview mirror that was damaged from a hit and run collision on one lane wide two lane streets.  I asked him to do the bare minimum that would get me through the state inspection.  We haggled to $350.  I passed inspection after complimenting a female DMV station employee on her sense of shoe style so that she overlooked the mirror violation.

Besides the money, there is the inconvenience.  This is one of those transportation purgatory cities where the public transit options (taxi zone system ripoff) and distance between the neighborhoods are not quite conducive enough to be without a car all the time, yet the limited parking, traffic, road disrepair, and horrid driving skills of the locals make owning a car a perpetual headache.  Halfway between New York and LA is no place to be.

I’m not worried about what not having a car will do to my game.  There are many ways around this.  Since most young single girls are bleeding heart liberals, a simple appeal to fighting global warming should suffice.

Her:  So what time will you pick me up?
Me:  I’m not.  We’ll take a cab to the E Street cinema 7:45 showing of “The not-so-secret lives of gays, gays, gays, and more gays”.
Her:  You don’t have a car?
Me:  No, I sold it to reduce my carbon footprint.  Global warming is the greatest evil in the world, right up there with the 2nd amendment.  I don’t want to contribute to the melting of the glaciers with a selfish, overfed, American lifestyle.  Without the ice, where will the polar bears fornicate?  You’re not an anti-fornicator, are you?
Her:  *swoon*

Thank you, Al Gore, for helping my game.

If the environment doesn’t move her, I can always pre-emptively head off her objection.

Me:  I only date enlightened 21st century women who understand the value of low-impact living and embrace a post-automobile reality.  My last girlfriend, even though she was only 19 and so pretty that people thought she must not be smart, understood why I sold my car.
Her:  Oh, I walk around the city a lot!
Me:  Great.  I’ll pick you up on my skateboard.  It’s a one-seater, so you’ll have to sit on my shoulders.

It’s ironic that getting rid of my car, long an American symbol of freedom, now strikes me as a very liberating choice.  Perhaps one trip on the bus, where an acquaintance once witnessed a shooting that injured the bus driver, will change my mind.





Comments


  1. I ditched my car for the hassle…you’re dead on right about that. And yes, it took me a while to get over it, but now I don’t really miss it at all.

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  2. Ditch your car if you live in D.C. and are reasonably close to a metro. You won’t need it. Put the money you save on gas, upkeep and most of all insurance into a high-yield savings account. When (or if) you get married and move to the suburbs, you’ll thank yourself for having the money available to buy a late-model car that you’ll take some pride washing on the weekends in your driveway.

    I’ve met a few congressmen who didn’t have cars. Their lives weren’t impacted one bit. One told me that he simply hires a car service when it’s necessary to attend black-tie events. It’s certainly cheaper in the long run.

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  3. On the way home in the taxi, you are free to begin whatever it is that might happen back at her place. This also helps maintain the level of desire with some heavy petting, more privacy than the metro (unless you are in to that kind of thing), and does not give her the chance to think things over on an awkward ride home.

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  4. I just lol-ed for real.

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  5. […] Clark Going Car-less » This Summary is from an article posted at Roissy in DC on Friday, August 24, 2007 Going […]

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  6. The problem comes if you aren’t like most DC-ites (slovenly young bachelors who eat out every night) and actually cook. Unlike Europe with its small neighborhood butchers, etc., American cities feature three or four mammoth supermarkets that are invariably at some distance from your house. So cars are necessary for serious food shopping. The lame neighborhood groceries with a head or two of wilted lettuce don’t count.

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  7. mq — that’s why certain grocery stores are metro-accessible. Whole Foods in Clarendon is on the metro, as are several others scattered throughout Virginia and Maryland. The issue is simply one of convenience. You actually have to get on the metro with a collapsible/rolling grocery cart (like an old lady or a bum) and then haul your groceries back. This can be a mothly occurrence for fresh vegetables and fruit. Meat and other foodstuffs can be easily bought in bulk and frozen until needed. As such, gourmet cooking must be planned in advance, but so is anything worth doing well.

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  8. your skateboard’s only a one-seater? you should visit these guys (www.longboard.net) and get yourself an upgrade.

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  9. Wow. Thanks for sharing this information about cars

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  10. […] Top three sleaziest occupations: mechanic, used car salesman, personal injury lawyer. I’m seriously contemplating selling my car. […]

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  11. I’ve been dreaming of ditching my car for a long time — but I dont think its possible here in the States. About a year ago, I went to Seoul, South Korea, and I was amazed how good life was without a car. You can get from any point to any point in the country (almost) by way of public transit. Cheap too ; I never paid more than about five dollars for a taxi. Subway was about a dollar, and a bus was maybe a buck-thirty. You could make the argument that its a different economy, so its apples to oranges… but that argument wont hold water for this reason: it costs more to live in Korea — its just the transit is super cheap. I think our government must mess it up here…. no surprise, since our gov’t is notorious for messin’ shit up. As far as game, I went out to bars and clubs almost every night (thats significantly more often than when I am here in America), and picked up a few girls (I was there for three weeks). I think not having a car actually made it easier to get out of the room and do stuff. Ahh, the reason why it was so easy was the way you buy a RFID card, put money on it at little ubiquitous kiosks, and just wave it in front of a machine when getting on the bus or subway or taxi — no fishing for change or bills (in fact, they wont let you…). I saw women waving their purses in front of the machine; the cards work without taking them out. It’s a nice little country, and they have done a wonderful job of obsoleting the automobile.

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  12. […] you live in a place where it is acceptable to be car-less, you can substitute with a boat docked at the nearest marina. Sailboats earn doubleplusbonus […]

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  13. But what do you do when you want to go to Costco in the suburbs?

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  14. Boy am I glad to live in a European city with all my shopping and transportation needs within 5 walking minutes, redundantly, including fresh produce, meat, bread. Thanks for reminding me that it is a privilege.

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  15. on April 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm Laughingdog

    I have a one word response to the idea of ditching your car: motorcycle. As long as you get one that gets over 50mpg, you still get to throw the “reducing my environmental impact” card. If you get a dual-sport (e.g., BMW R1200GS), you get to throw both the dangerous and rugged cards. If you buy a V-Strom, you get to throw down all 3.

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