Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Driven to distraction
Today I got to indulge in something I don't do all that often any more - drive a car. Not my car. No, it's still sitting gathering dust (literally) outside the flat. This was a work car. Nowadays, the most driving I seem to do is for work, and helpfully we have a policy of only using pool cars for work journeys. So my little Honda Civic sits outside my flat from one week's end to the next, gathering dust, leaves and bird shit - and slowly flattening its battery.
I've been meaning all year to get rid of my car. I don't need it any more. I have the luxury of being able to walk to work. There are excellent public transport connections around here for wherever I choose to go on a regular basis, and my green conscience has increased during the 2+ years I've been in my current job. I don't have small children to move around. I can get my groceries delivered. I can even hire a car if I do need one on the odd occasion. So what is it that's stopping me from letting go?
It's a question I've been pondering for a few months now. First of all it was persuading myself that there was an alternative, a viable life without a car. Then it was persuading my family. Then it was whether I would need it for my sister's visit in the summer. Now, I think, it's just lack of organisation.
Well, that and a fear of losing my independence. For as long as I've been driving, I've equated having a car to having my freedom. The ability to jump into a vehicle that I control and just take off if I want/need to. When I lived outside the city, it was a necessity. There's no way I would be contemplating this if I still lived in my previous home, or the one before that. But where I am now...nope, a car isn't an essential.
But I confess I'm still finding it hard to make the break. And that's even with all the problems I've had with batteries going flat, brakes seizing up and the car just generally getting filthy through lack of use. Not to mention how much it costs to tax and insure the damn thing, just for it to sit looking pretty outside the flat.
Today was fun. I do like driving. I like the feeling of accelerating along the open road. I like being able to see places that public transport doesn't go. But I don't need a car of my own to do that. And if the worst comes to the worst, and I need a car again - well, I can just buy one can't I?!
So, is that enough to get me moving? Watch this space and I'll keep you posted.
Perhaps, as inspiration, I should remember that the car mirror photo was taken one evening when I'd had to get the RAC out (again!) to recharge my battery and I had to take a 90 minute drive out to top the battery back up. While it was a beautiful evening for a drive, it was also a complete hassle - and one that, to be honest, I could do without!