Why I Miss My Car

Our Toyota Matrix in the good old days (cars are also great for teaching toddler safety).

I should be writing about how great it is that I live in a place where the city neighborhoods are so well-planned and the public transportation so reliable that I really don’t need a car. But my husband’s out of town this weekend and I’ve been schlepping two kids and a dog around by myself all day, so I’m feeling petty enough to whine about this shameful first-world problem. It’s sort of like how most of the time I care about eating fresh, local food, but then other times I shove entire boxes of Pocky sticks into my mouth.

I miss my car because:

1) It lets me make my own schedule. I’m always either running to make a bus or killing time until one arrives.  And you should see me when I just miss a bus that would have kept everyone on the right nap schedule. Sometimes I just wish I could go when I feel like it.

2) It’s basically an extra closet. Have you ever thought about how much stuff you can just keep in a car? All the stuff that makes my diaper bag weigh 20 pounds and then some. Changes of clothes, soccer balls, blankets, books, Goldfish crackers, tire irons, and who knows what else. I always have to weigh a particular item’s possible function against the weight it will bore into my shoulder, but a car does all the heavy lifting for you.

3) It’s weatherproof. Today was the kind of day where it couldn’t seem to decide whether to rain or snow, so it did both, in abundance. I have a plastic cover for the stroller and that kept my kids dry, but it didn’t do much for me, and I can’t hold an umbrella while walking a German Shepherd, pushing a double stroller, and toting a diaper bag. Therefore, I became intimately acquainted with the gross weather in a way I could have easily avoided with a car.

4) It’s a world unto itself. I can put on a CD and sing loudly and obnoxiously with my kids. I can eat whatever I want. Nobody will glare at me or shush me. If I’m feeling grumpy, I can sit and stew without needing to be polite. I have plenty of room for just me and my stuff. No need to stand in a car!

Admittedly, the reasons I miss my car are the reasons I shouldn’t. It allows me to accumulate clutter, isolate myself, avoid the outdoors, and not plan ahead…an ecological, sociological nightmare! And OK, most days, I’m really thankful to be reducing my carbon footprint, avoiding traffic jams and near-accidents, and not paying for gas.

But just for today, I miss my car.


16 thoughts on “Why I Miss My Car

  1. I haven’t had a car in 11 years– sometimes I miss it…. today I got a zip car to take Z to a birthday party and she SCREAMED the whole way. She does not understand what the heck a car is! 🙂 By the way, I think you should take the tire iron out of your diaper bag. Just some advice.

  2. Haha, Carey! I didn’t realize how terribly that sentence was worded until just now…but I think I’ll leave it as is so people think I carry the most hardcore diaper bag ever. 🙂 I’m not surprised that Z wasn’t too crazy about her car ride. Think about how isolated she is from you in the car. I have no idea what J would think of a carseat…for A they are novelties though; he loves cars and it’s a major thrill when he gets to ride in one.

    1. Thanks for the sympathy, Jodi. When I had a car I often despaired at how cluttered it could get, but now I miss having the opportunity to just stash things I might need out and about.

  3. Sarah, you are SUCH a love! You have my permission to miss your car for one day. The car as closet–I am entranced by that application! Of COURSE you miss your car!

  4. Oh Sarah, I felt for you as I too cart an infant around in Brooklyn, NY. But the discomfort and annoyances have prompted you to understand all the functions that cars play beyond the obvious ones. Now, perhaps, some creative entrepreneur can figure out ways to ameliorate some of these needs without using up so much carbon.

    And you have braved offending your own self-image by telling us the truth about your feelings. Brava!

    Here’s wishing you many sunny days and many friendly strangers to help when the load gets tire iron heavy.

    1. Thanks so much for your sympathetic and beautifully written response, Shirley. I definitely felt guilty posting this, but the fact of course is that I miss my car, and I also don’t. I know that you, as a memoirist, understand how gray the truth can be!

  5. Oh, I’d be so lost without my car. We’re in suburban Minneapolis though. Definitely a car town unless you live downtown.

    Wanted to thank you for your nice comments on my blog! I’m so glad you’re finding some old posts. It’s sad when posts just sit there that I worked hard on so I love that someone new has had a chance to read them.

    Last thing–how did you get those cute little twitter and rss icons??

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nina. I know what you mean about old blog posts just sitting there and am happy to pull some of yours out of retirement by commenting!

      Regarding the cute little icons…as I recall, I found them by googling “free twitter icons” and ended up coming across little social media “sets” that included the RSS icon as well as a few others that I decided not to use. I tried finding the site I used again, but of course could not…in the process though, I found some icons that I think are even cuter so I might just have to upgrade. Anyway, the icons have either HTML code that you can paste into a Text widget, or are downloadable, in which case you can upload them, assign a URL, and then attach them in an Image widget. I hope that makes sense, and if I ever come across the ones I used, I’ll let you know!

  6. We have been a one-car family for a couple years now, ever since my hubby’s car decided it needed a new transmission, and we are too busy clawing our way out of debt to fix it. My man works long hours so many days I just stay home. It’s easier than hauling four kids out late at night to pick up their daddy from work. There are days when I wish public transportation was more of an option in my area. We don’t even have sidewalks, and people don’t drive slowly or carefully.

    Then again, thinking about hauling four kids around with their gear without a vehicle sounds like I would just stay home anyway. 😉

    So, yes, I definitely understand why you would miss your car!

    1. Rebecca, thanks for stopping by. We were a one-car family for a while too when we lived in the U.S., and it forced us to combine errands and plan our vehicle use pretty carefully. I still wish more parts of the U.S. had reliable public transportation. We live in Germany now and I’m really impressed at how regular bus service still extends into rural areas.

      I’m impressed that you can haul four kids and their gear around even with a car! Nice work. 🙂

  7. I would so miss my car too! 2 of your reasons hit me dead on…

    It’s basically an extra closet. and It’s a world unto itself. When I lived in Japan, I didn’t have a car and I missed the ability to throw the CD in and roll down the windows (I got funny looks when I tried this on the train:)) and as for all my stuff, well with kiddos and a dog, I can’t imagine all the stuff you have. My car constantly looks like a diaper bag exploded but I love it. I miss your car for you today!

    1. Shannon, thanks for the sympathy! I love your description of the exploded diaper bag– that is definitely how my stroller looks. I could relate to your point about the train too. It’s pretty taboo to kick back with your music on the public transportation here…nor would I really want to. The unfettered privacy of a car sometimes just can’t be beat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s