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minor drawbacks of being without a car

Over Christmas vacation, there were a couple times that I potentially could have driven a car: there was a planned trip to IKEA with Mom that didn't happen because she wasn't feeling well, there were a couple of times I might've borrowed a car to go shopping or even go down to Boston for the evening but I ended up doing other things. It won't be long now before I'll have gone a full three months without driving, a lapse that hasn't occurred in my life since 1991, when I spent a semester in Rome. That's pretty phenomenal. 

And so far, for the most part, rather to my surprise, I really don't miss driving. I've driven a lot less in the past three years than I did in the previous twenty, because my freelance career meant that most of the time I didn't have to drive anywhere in particular to do work. Instead, I've just been able to walk or bus around town. I still used my car a few times a week, for things like getting groceries, going to friends' homes if I would be there late or if the weather was poor or if I simply wanted to be there in a reasonably short amount of time, and going out to concerts when I'd be out late enough that catching a bus home would be difficult. But I'd already had time to change my mindset and choose to travel without the car whenever it was not a big inconvenience.

In the weeks since my accident, for most of that time I wasn't able to drive even if I wanted to, so I've had to get around on my own. Getting groceries has been a nuisance, having to take a bus there and carry the heavy things home, but it's been manageable and it's shown that I don't really need my car for that purpose. And relying on buses is more time-consuming: the Dowlers' home is about five miles by road across town from my home, a distance that takes about twenty minutes by car but about an hour by bus; if I had to get out to the 3Sharp offices in Redmond by bus, it would take a minimum 90 minutes by bus, while I could drive there in a half-hour (although to be fair, during commute times it was all too often just as long to travel by car). Still, overall being carless has been working fairly well for me, and it's nice to think that I'm free from the expenses of having a car. 

Tonight though, I went out to a show at the Rendezvous downtown. It was a late show, with the doors scheduled to open at 10 pm, but the earlier show ran late enough that they didn't really start letting people in until 10:15. The first band was all set up and apparently ready to go by 10:40, but then for no apparent reason wandered off for another ten minutes before returning to start at nearly 11 pm. I've never been one to complain before about shows running late into the evening, but now it's suddenly become an annoyance to me. The final band didn't start until almost 12:45 am, and the last bus that would get me reasonably close to home was scheduled to leave the nearby stop downtown at 1:20 am. That meant that I had to leave the show "early", before the final band was done their set. I'm not happy about that. I was enjoying their music, and I've never liked leaving a show early, only reluctantly doing so even when I wasn't enjoying the music. 

Now, I could have taken a taxi home, I suppose. I've never liked taking taxis, and I'm sparing with my cash these days so I'd rather take the bus for that reason too. In this case, I decided that although I was enjoying the show, it wasn't vital that I stay until the end, and I chose to go with the bus. But I still resent that I had to make that choice because the buses stop running before the bars actually close; it's such a stupid schedule. And I dislike that the disconnect between public transit hours and concert club/bar hours makes having a car desirable. Anyhow, I can see that in the future, for as long as I continue to be carless, the taxi option will be necessary some of the time that I go out to shows; for example, if I'm up on Capitol Hill, I would have to leave shows even earlier in order to catch a bus back downtown where I can then catch a bus home. 


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