Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Vehicle: Edging into Adulthood

I've done without a car for thirteen years. I live in a city with lots of cabs, good bus service, and plenty of sidewalks to walk on. I have friends and family which will transport heavy goods in a pinch, and if I need to get out of the city there is always the Greyhound.

But jeez, I think it's time to get a car. I hate sponging off of friends. I hate being unable to visit people in other cities. When I'm invited to do a show in Guelph, I hate forcing them to pick me up and drive me home. I hate taking the bus to Toronto.

Most importantly -- and positively -- I would love to be able to drive during the summer. I want to drive to little towns and explore without worrying that other people will be bored. I want to visit the Bruce Penninsula again. I want to see Lake Huron.

To do all of these things I need a car.

So I've started the ball rolling. My father works at a car dealership and he knows his cars, so he's scouting out a practical used vehicle. I've called an insurance company to find out how much I'll need to pay for the privilege of driving...I'll get the bad news tomorrow. I've decided that -- for the first time in my life -- I need to go into temporary debt to achieve a useful and substantial goal: geographic independence.

Hopefully this will all happen.

I need to balance this with two other desires. First off, I want to go to the 2008 Pennsylvania STC Summit in June, and though I'll be reimbursed for everything it always involves my paying upfront, out of my own pocket.

Also, while editing a new "Domestic Drag Show" in iMovie, I finally decided it would be worth it to get better (that is, ADEQUATE) video editing software. But that would require upgrading my operating system, which would ultimately require just getting a new computer. As nice as it would be to enjoy all the perks of a spiffy new iMac (not to mention the ability to make better videos, and to make them faster), I have to admit that this is hardly essential.

So the car wins.


Anonymous said...

I was in the same boat for the longest time and ended up buying a car about a year ago. I was lucky; I don't spend money on much so I had enough savings to buy a nice new car.

You really have to think about what's best for you in this case though. I could have gotten by for years by bus, greyhound, rent a car, cab. But I found I was always too much of a cheapscape to pay for such services on an individual basis. When faced with the choice of forking the money for transportation and having fun verses sitting on my ass at home I would always choose the latter. Alas, I now have a car and get out a little more than I used to.

Anonymous said...

growing up is scary

Anonymous said...

Have fun with the car! But a caveat if you will. Once you start taking the car to work, you WILL become too lazy to walk/take the bus anymore. Trust me. I know. :)

Adam Thornton said...


My problem has been partly a drag queen panic: the knowledge that it takes me a long time to get INTO face, and that once I do I only have a limited "shelf life."

So when getting picked up by somebody I always have to worry about getting ready before I go versus getting ready once I'm there, or them being late, or them not even showing up.

When I'm at an event, I'm at the mercy of my driver. Just knowing that I'll be sitting someplace long after my "expiry date" has been enough to prevent me from going out at all.

I assume that I'll still spend far too much "me-time" even with a car, anyway. :)

Adam Thornton said...

I have made a pact with myself: NO TAKING THE CAR TO WORK, EVER. I've survived eight years walking to work and I can survive many more.

Because I'm sure your caveat is right, and I don't want to lose my "girlish-y" figure OR create more pollution than necessary.

Anonymous said...

or create more pollution than necessary.

And this is when i tell you about how recently I went to the main city bus stop, and seeing people at 7ish at night running after buses in their sandals so that they would get a seat and hanging out from the footboards gave me a powerful dose of deja vu.

That used to be be me and my world. My wife kills me if I try to take bus excursions but I miss the people watching and introspection that bus riding provides. :)

Anonymous said...

.. and from experience I do know some precautions to take from the all too numerous pickpockets.

Anonymous said...

Heck, as a college kid, I thought it was the ultimate in machosism to board running buses and hang from the footboards. Now that I use the roads as a driver, I know how ridiculously stupid that was. Mixed with sadness for all the self-employed/salesman/et al who haven't seen things from this side of the steering wheel.

Kimber said...

The one thing I don't miss about taking the bus: the horrid bouquet of nasty smells.

Muffy, if you want to drive to Lake Huron, you'll have a friendly face waiting for you - we live in Kincardine now, 20 min walk from the lake and lots of kitschy small towns!

Hilda said...

Hey Muffy...

I saw you asked on my Blog whether or not I was going to the STC Conference this year. As of now, no, I work with another Technical Writer and we alternate going to the conference. It's her turn this year - but if for some reason she can't go, I guess I will.

Adam Thornton said...

I'm with you all: the public bus odour is usually bad. I always get stuck beside the guy with a palpable smell of tooth decay who is also eating a raw-fish sandwich.

I also agree that the "people watching" is wonderful, but usually it ends up being "people LISTENING." A dozen cel phone conversations at once, and some annoying guy bragging to his girlfriend.

Adam Thornton said...

Kincardine! Kim, I might just take you up on your offer!

Our family used to vacation at Inverhuron. I LOVED Inverhuron, and I'd love to see it again!

The nuclear power plant just made it all more exciting. :)

Adam Thornton said...


Sadly, I've just found out that I can't go either. Our company is focusing on local training so it looks like I'm out this year.