Jonesing for a New Car
Something strange is happening to me these days: after 8 months of living without a car I’m finding myself fantasizing about owning one again. It started when an acquaintance of mine told me she was dropping the price again on her one-owner 1968 MGB Sprite. You read that right –she bought it in 1968 and has driven it since. The price was ridiculously low, as was the mileage. And bright red, too.
Thank God for the fact that it was a British make and I don’t have a garage, or I would have bought it right then and there.
I drove a friend of a friend’s pickup the other day, and that has me yearning for one as well. I had forgotten the aura of self-reliance and machismo of driving a truck, and I revelled in it as I stuck my elbow out the window and insouciantly draped my hand over the top of the wheel.
I’ve had over 40 different kinds of vehicles in my life, so being car-less like this is a very strange experience. I don’t mind admitting that they are a real fetish object for me: I love the designs, I love the machinery, especially older vehicles (while I admire what engineers can do with a teaspoon of gas these days, the resulting complexity takes away from the simple elegance of the internal combustion engine).
I got rid of my last car – a mint 1968 Ford Galaxy 500 fastback – because I really didn’t need it and it was antithetical to my simple lifestyle. I live aboard a sailboat in the inner harbour of Victoria, B.C. Canada, 15 minutes from the downtown core. Everything is within cycling or walking range.
I felt a bit of a rebel when I handed over the keys to its new owner. I was really out of the mainstream now. It felt good walking everywhere and cycling all the time. I was part of a new, cutting-edge social order. I even joined the local carshare co-op.
Continued on the next page
Well, that was three quarters of a year ago, and I must say the shine has worn off a bit. It’s no longer new and novel, just inconvenient. More and more my wife and I are getting friends to drive us, which only shifts the responsibility of car ownership to others. We are becoming more involved in outside events and activities, and this becomes a problem with our limited transportation options. Although our pace slowed down, civilisation roared on, and the interface between the two becomes a challenge.