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Clipped Wings.

26 February 2013

I feel very strange. For the first time in 19.5 years, I do not own a car. Today I took my beloved Volvo C30 to a car auction lot and left it there, traded for a piece of paper with numbers and names on it. In the 14 days I’ve lived in ECC, I’ve used my car three times, and two of those were to take my mother to and from the airport. The other time was to go to Ikea to get a rug. It’s easy to get around ECC on busses and by subway. There’s simply no reason, where I live, to own a car. Grocery store across the street, a mile from work, etc..

But I feel a bit like a bird with clipped wings. Something about car ownership is ingrained in America, in me. I like driving. I like the freedom. I like road trips. I like to drive around listening to NPR. I’ve lost that here. It’s been replaced with many wonderful things, of course. ECC has so much more to offer than St. Louis did in a compact, walkable area. St. Louis is a great cultural city, don’t get me wrong. But it’s very spread out. Miles and miles separate the cultural institutions from one another. In ECC, they’re all within a 10 minute bus ride of my apartment, and most are within a 10 minute walk.

So I’m excited. That was the last thing that I needed to do to settle here, other than start my job, I think. But I definitely feel disoriented without a car. It’ll present challenges. But I’ve faced a lot of challenges to get here. I’ve changed my whole way of being. And I’m happy about it. And terrified still. So much has changed, and I still need to learn what new challenges I’m facing. I have, however, found that I’ve been equal to most of the challenges I’ve faced lately. With help, and lot of it, I’ve done ok. I’m still looking forward.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sydney permalink
    26 February 2013 15:08

    I’m curious, does it feel like your world has shrunk or expanded? I’m a bit of an introvert myself so I like the idea of having everything within walking distance, but that also means an influx of people which I tend to dislike (even though meeting new people is generally a good thing)

  2. 26 February 2013 15:33

    I haven’t owned a car since I was 17 — welcome to the center of a big city! πŸ™‚

  3. Jimmy Legs permalink
    26 February 2013 15:33

    LTR, FTC.

    Once you’ve made the adjustments–giving yourself enough time to get places, getting groceries more often in smaller amounts–you’ll find you won’t miss it. Yes, there will still be times a car would be more convenient, often greatly so, but the minor annoyances you’ll find yourself avoiding will far outnumber them. When gas hits $5 per gallon; when a friend drops a thousand on a new transmission; when there’s eight inches of snow and freezing rain is on the way (and you’re wearing warm shoes and a number of layers); when traffic is just plain Stop–you won’t mind. Especially since I imagine at its best traffic will be a nightmare. I can also imagine what sort of bus drivers it produces. Pay your fare and sit down and you’ll be fine.

  4. 26 February 2013 15:45

    You can listen to NPR on your phone when you use public transportation πŸ˜‰

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