Took my car in for servicing today. Its nice to have a car; a rather inane but nonetheless honest comment from a boy born and raised in LA.
I couldn’t wait to own a car as a teenager. I bought my mother’s ’73 Camaro–no, she didn’t give it to me–I molded (not attached) a spoiler on to it, removed all the Camaro insignias to make the body look smoother, repainted it from red to midnight blue (making it look even darker, but not black), and changed the rims (cyclones). I left the engine stock. It was beautiful and my baby (the Camaro in the photo is not my car, but the resemblance is remarkable, right down to the absence of the front red Camaro insignia!). However, as driving became a necessity–going to work or school–and finding myself each day in the parking lot known as the LA freeway system–take your pick, Santa Monica, Pomona, San Bernadino–I soon dreaded driving. And of course, my eyes were progressively getting worse–see earlier post–which made driving an even scarier proposal.
Needless to say, when I went to Tokyo, I was very impressed with the fact one could get around quite easily sans kuruma. The trains and subways ran frequently and on time. Amazing. I subsequently lived in Japan for about 7 years and got completely used to the idea that I didn’t need a car. Back in LA, where my Camaro was sitting in my parents driveway, my mom complained persistently about the hassles of having a car around that isn’t being driven, and ultimately I was persuaded to give my baby up for adoption, which I did reluctantly.
Of course, as the gods of irony are wont to do, I got a job in DC six months later.
Upset, I vowed to find a place to live near a Metro stop, so I could continue my Japanese lifestyle of not needing a vehicle. Unfortunately, unlike Japan, where there are always retail shops surrounding the station, suburban Metro stops–particularly beyond Ballston in Va–are surrounded by parking lots and condominiums. I was reduced to going shopping at “local” supermarkets on foot or by bus. Stubborn me. I lived like this for 6 years.
Last year, I inherited my mom’s car (she lost her battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and now am recalling the freedom a car brings. I don’t drive to work–the traffic here is as bad, if not worse, than LA–but to go shopping in a car is sooooo much easier. The convenience it provides easily outweighs the cost of gas and insurance. Who woulda thunkit.