If it were up to me, we would all magically disappear and instantly reappear at our destination. The genuine point A to point B. But, unfortunately (for several reasons), we don’t live in the world of wizardry. So, we must rely on motor vehicles to travel. Vehicles that tend to break down. Vehicles that must constantly be fed fuel. Vehicles that require as much maintenance as a child or pet but that don’t return the affection.
I know I might sound angry. I’m not. I recognize I’m in the minority here. Otherwise, global warming wouldn’t be a global issue. The purpose of this article is not to persuade you to my side. If you enjoy driving, good for you. I respect that. I simply want to present a different perspective on cars. And no, not the Pixar movie, though I really enjoyed that. The first one at least.
One of the main reasons I moved from LA to New York was because I didn’t need a car to live here. With one of the best trains systems in the world and neighborhoods so compact you can walk everywhere I’m taking advantage of that freedom. Here are a few reasons I don’t want to go back to being a car owner.
1. I like to walk
Google the health benefits of walking and you’ll learn how it tones your muscles, lowers risks of certain diseases, helps you lose weight, and reduces your stress levels. Beyond that, there’s something about walking through the neighborhood. It’s like adding color to a black and white photo; it brings it to life. When you drive through a neighborhood and see it through the window, it’s like watching it on TV. You’re disconnected, a mere observer. You think you know but you have no idea. It’s not until you walk the streets that you hear people conversing about their relationships, smell the cuisine from local restaurants, see street art in the alleyways that you really feel like a part of it.
2. I like to save money
Verily, owning a car is like having a child, in terms of expenses. Make a baby and you’ll have to pay for food, cloths, diapers, toiletries, toys, etc. Similarly, buy a car and you’ll have to pay for insurance, gas, maintenance, parking, etc. When I owned a car, I got frustrated when I went to the Honda dealership for an oil change because every time, without fail, the maintenance man would approach me with a printout with a bunch of red marks. Uh oh. That’s not good.
My mental response was always, “What’s wrong this time?” My brake fluid is out, air filter needs to be changed, battery needs to be charged, tail lights need to be replaced, or anything else that’s going to set me back another $200-$300. No Nintendo 3DS for me, I guess.
3. I can’t stand traffic
I have friends who love driving. They equate driving with a walk on the beach. When they’re stressed, they hop in their car and take a ride through the countryside or in a quiet neighborhood to contemplate life. Those friends do not drive in Los Angeles.
Driving in LA discolored my feelings towards the activity. It’s like if you got molested by a clown in your childhood. I highly doubt you’d be down to go to Ringling Bros, no matter how spectacular the show is. Well, like Pavlov’s dog, I’ve been conditioned to associate driving with being stuck in traffic.
I learned to drive as a teenager in Texas. But I didn’t really start driving until I bought my own car in LA. Instead of feeling liberated to jump in my car and ride on open roads, I felt the intense frustration of bumper to bumper traffic. If you live in LA you might fear the 405 or the 5 highways the way the fictional Japanese fear Godzilla. It’s a bloody nightmare.
4. I dislike dealing with crazy drivers
Not only do you have to deal with traffic so heavy you can get out of your car and do jumping jacks while you wait, but you also have to put up with people who drive like they’re blindfolded. I wonder if some folks slept with their driving instructor to get their license. Seriously. For instance, some people don’t use their blinkers to inform you that they are about to turn. They flick them on when they are already turning. As if I needed blinking lights to tell me your vehicle is halfway in my lane. Thanks for the heads-up.
So, those were my first five years driving. It affected my social life because I questioned whether an event was worth suffering one hour or more of traffic. Friendships have ended over this.
5. I like to read on the train
Here’s the beauty of reading on the train: I was going to read anyway. So no time is wasted. It’s almost like a magic carpet is ferrying me to my destination as I get lost in a good story. It’s the closest thing to teleportation I’ll get, so I’ll take that.
Ultimately, I feel driving a car complicates a process that is simple by nature. Point A to Point B. It doesn’t matter to me how I get there. Just that I do.
By the way, I wrote part of this article while riding the train. Can’t do that while driving. I’m just saying.