What I Learned From Having A Car For A Week

August 30, 2013

I know I don’t need to convince you anymore that it was the right decision to sell the car, ’cause really I’ve done enough convincing, right?

But, I did just want to give one last post to say that having a car for a week helped me to not feel a need for a car.

First, I will freely admit the good stuff. Sometimes bus schedules make it to where you’re going to have to be 35 (or more) minutes early to a place.

You don’t want to leave your house quite that early, but you have to, ’cause if you don’t you’re gonna be like 20 minutes late.

It was nice to not be tied to someone else’s schedule. However, there were many things that weren’t great about having a car.

Driving is stressful. stress-ful. This is part of the reason I haven’t put a car high on my priority list. Driving in LA is hard. Drivers are crazy. Pedestrians are crazy. And I barely ever drive. Therefore, I’m really not that great at it.

I don’t want to drive around a huge machine that holds people’s lives in it’s hands. I’m cool.

Also, I do live right downtown. Trying to pull out of my building and see what’s coming at you beyond the row of cars in street parking that are taking up your visual space – it’s really hard! No wonder everyone always gets into accidents on our corner. (I even had a past roommate get into an accident coming out of our parking structure!)

If I had a car, I’d say that chances that at some point I’d get into an accident coming out of there have got to be around a 97%* (*No actual data whatsoever to back that up.)

I’m awful at parallel parking – just horrendous. So, I just did my best to avoid that at all costs as much as I could.

Truthfully, I got to many places in the same time it took me on public transportation (especially if the subway was involved, ’cause that’s pretty fast even when the buses are not).

Even if I had a car, I would never drive it to Hollywood/Highland or a number of other places that could be easily accessed by subway (including my job).

Also, in a car, I lose my reading (and great tweeting ;)) time. (Though I’ll admit you could listen to books on tapes or podcasts.)

Also, in car, you’re just getting even more alone in a city that’s already very isolating. In a car, who’s gonna burst in and start selling water or candy or doing a song and dance for you?

In Los Angeles, that might be the only interactions you have with humans all week!

Of course there’s also the great benefit of walking more when you don’t have a car.

In many ways, not having a car rocks.

But in the few times where some place is not really on any good public transport routes, or the bus schedule runs few and far between, it’s easy to say “I WISH I had a car!”

But driving around a car for a week makes it that much easier for me to ask myself back, “But do you really?”

I will say if I became pretty wealthy, and every thing on my priority list was paid for for a while, and I still had loads of leftover money – and for whatever reason in that scenario I decided to stay in Los Angeles even with the freedom that that much money brings (I’m guessing in that scenario, I’m working on a sitcom – which is why I couldn’t go to NY, but would still have lots of money.)…

In that scenario, I would consider buying a car. If I become Mindy Kaling, I’ll think about it. I’ll brave the chance of getting into an accident (and I’ll get better at driving with practice).

I’ll enjoy the conveniences of the car when I want them, but take public transport to everywhere even kind of close (or located in a congested area where it’d be hard to park).

So, someday, maybe. You never know. I don’t plan on it anytime soon.

But I’m very, very thankful at how having a car for a week showed me how to be thankful that I don’t have one.

(I cannot stress enough that a car was what I wanted on TPiR – but for the novelty of saying I won one, and for the money I’d get from selling it – not so I could actually drive it and get a million wrinkles from the stress of barely knowing how to drive.)

Side note: My last mission in that car was the ultimate driving test. I survived picking my mom and sister up from LAX!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?