Car? Get Rid of Yours and Join the Cool Kids

by | November 14, 2017 |

Guess who doesn’t own a car? Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Quincey Jones, Vincent Kartheizer, Dan Savage, David Sedaris and Barbara Streisand.

Neither do I, as I said in my last blog Three Tips for a Youthful Body and Mind. My decision to go carless happened by accident. And, no, I don’t mean car accident.

Before going to Romania in 2005 on a year-long Fulbright scholarship, I gave my older son my car. (Actually, it was his to begin with, but that’s another story.) When I returned to the country for the Fall Semester of 2006, I was in the midst of a big project. Thus, I didn’t want to take time away from it in order to do all the research plus test driving, etc., involved in buying a car. I figured I needed one. Because, after all, adults have cars. But I decided to wait until I had some free time.

It was also my first year of being a Faculty in Residence at Duke University. I teach at Duke and was living in faculty apartment in Randolph Dorm on East Campus.

Who Needs a Car?

About six weeks later I finished the project … and wondered: If I haven’t really needed a car in these past six weeks, why would I need one going forward?

It was true. I took the campus bus from East to West where I have my office and classes. Randolph Dorm is across the street from Whole Foods and the shops on 9th Street. So I had easy access to all the shopping I needed. I could walk downtown and meet friends for lunch or dinner. My dentist is off East Campus, my doctors’ appointments tend to be at Duke Hospital on West Campus. And I had no problem finding a hair salon within easy walking distance.

All well and good. But I admit to experiencing inconveniences and minor frustrations at first. How am I going to get X, Y or Z, if it’s not available on 9th Street? How do I get to the exercise studio I really like that’s way out on Guess Road? I started taking taxis. Then along came Zipcar and now there’s Lyft.

The Inconvenience of Car Ownership

I would now find owning a car an inconvenience. For the past twelve years I have not:

  1. Filled a gas tank (except in the case of Zipcar).
  2. Had to rotate tires.
  3. Bought tires.
  4. Been annoyed when a Check Engine light comes on.
  5. Had my car serviced.
  6. Had a state car inspection.
  7. Paid county car tax.
  8. Paid car insurance.
  9. Made a car payment.
  10. Washed my car.
  11. Cleaned up the junk accumulating in the passenger seat, back seat and trunk.

Here’s what I have done:

  1. Rented out my parking space in my condo.
  2. Walked a whole lot.
  3. Experienced my world at street level.

Walking through a space is very different than driving through it. In Metaphors and Similes I recommend to writers to get on the street and start walking so they can see their world close up and in a leisurely fashion.

Dr. James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic at Arizona State University, says “Sitting is the new smoking.”

A Youthful Mind and Body – Three Tips

Categorised in: ,

This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.