Today’s post is a guest post from my co-worker, 3rd grade teacher Alethea Mellor, who recently found herself carless due to mechanical problems. Alethea’s definitely been making the best of it, and has been cheerful about her car-free state (at least in public!).
Let me start by saying that I love my car. I love driving it and would probably never willingly give it up. For years, before kids and when it was just me, I didn’t even own a car and it didn’t seem to be a hassle, but over the years I had become completely dependent on it. As a busy single mom, I couldn’t imagine life without it.
About 6 weeks ago my car broke down. It needs a new transmission and I can’t afford it just yet. Forced into a carless situation, I am learning (and even sort of loving) to survive without a car. Some of the daily errands I had dreaded are becoming routine on foot.
Getting to work/ school: I am fortunate enough to work at my youngest son’s school, just 1 mile away from home (which is also a mile from the middle school for my oldest). We walk to and from school each day. It takes about 20 minutes, and we get our exercise in and usually some pretty pleasant conversations.
Grocery Shopping: I have great friends who take me shopping with them from time to time. I am very grateful for this, but the timing doesn’t always work out. I have also discovered Safeway.com. I do a fair amount of shopping there and get it delivered. Sure, it’s more expensive, but I’m also not paying for gas or a taxi. I can pretty much always finagle a free delivery just by purchasing a handful of featured items. If I just need a few things, I will take an empty backpack and 2 reusable bags with me on a run. I make sure I end up at the grocery store and stock up on what I can carry. My walk home is my cool down.
Appointments/outings: If I need to get somewhere, I just run or take public transportation. I have been a runner for a while now, and I just use it as a form of transportation. My friend calls me Forrest Gump, because if I need to get somewhere, I just run. It’s a great way to get my workout in and get where I’m going. Sometimes I will get a ride from a friend or call a taxi if it is late at night. I justify the expense by all the gas money I am saving.
Because I haven’t been driving around, I have been getting a lot more exercise in. I have been spending more time with my kids since my outings are more planned and we have to walk a lot of places together. My kids are getting to know our neighborhood on foot rather than whizzing by in a car. All in all, it’s not so bad. Don’t get me wrong; I am looking forward to having my car back, but I don’t mind being carless for now.