one car / public transport FTW

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We have been a one-car family for nearly a month now. Truth be told, it’s not much to speak of in the Summer when the weather is easy and Husband is happy to bike every bit of the way to work. The weather is also very encouraging for The Kid and I to take the bus around the city but we’ll see how this changes once the weather turns! A little drizzle is nothing but the last couple of years brought steady wind and downpours. After living here for several years, I had only finally invested in an umbrella two Winters ago because I was walking over a mile from campus to my final bus and was concerned about the electronics (iPhone, iPad) and notebooks full of French and Arabic notes.

So, we’ve gone down to one car and I knew that at some point we’d run into an issue with the car that would require some problem-solving. I just didn’t think it would come so soon! This past week, my mother was out here visiting from Pennsylvania and her return flight was first thing this morning (Friday).

Thursday night, we got a flat tire. Too late to take care of it by morning. Of course!

It’s kind of our own damn fault though. We knew that we had a large nail in the tire a couple of days ago and were thinking we’d take care of it this weekend since I’d been keeping an eye on it and the pressure had remained steady. Quite frankly, I’m a whiz at changing tires and I had the attitude of, “Eh, I’ll just put the spare on if we don’t make it to the weekend.”

Guess what? My husband’s car (well, “our” car) doesn’t have a spare. It has something called “run-flat tires” which I vaguely knew of but I did not know that it means no spare tire. It appears that yet another of my life skills has become useless in these modern times.

I was also quite proficient at changing my own oil, but again, modern times and new cars have made it impossible for me to continue to do so. Oh, well. (Hashtag “feeling old”, yeah?)

I think that we tend to think of privilege as having two cars but there is great privilege in choosing to go down to one car. It’s privileged to know that if something were to happen to that one car and you were stuck without any car temporarily, it would be only a minor annoyance or inconvenience. We could have taken the bus/lightrail to the airport this morning, however, my mom’s flight was around 8:30 in the morning and none of us were willing to get up as early as would have been necessary to get to the airport in time. So we paid $65 for a car service (we used Sabra, which we’ve used before and have always been pleased with them). I really didn’t want to send my mom off the airport by herself and my son wanted to be with her as long as possible, so we all trekked along. However, The Kid and I took the lightrail/bus back home.

Waking up early is one of my very least favorite things to do. Waking up before 6:30 makes me grumpy AF. Once I’m up, though, I really love mornings and always have the same wistful, delusional thoughts about becoming a person who regularly gets up at the (ass)crack of dawn intentionally. (Yeah, unless I need to be somewhere, that ain’t happenin’.) But I have to say, the morning light rail / bus ride back was downright pleasant.

We have been wanting to take the lightrail to the airport for quite some time now, but we always get lazy at the last minute. I’m determined to do it for our Santa Barbara trip and save the $$ on parking. It’s a short, easy flight and we won’t be dragging large suitcases around, so it should be do-able. I was happy to give the Seatac/Home public transport journey a whirl this morning even if I was still half-asleep! So The Kid and I rode in the car to the airport with my mother, walked her to the security line (TSA Precheck FTW!) and turned right back around and followed the signs to the lightrail.

The lightrail, however, does NOT go all the way to Kirkland or anywhere in the East Side. This part sucks because we need it. But we do not currently have it, so we took the Lightrail from Seatac, got off at Pioneer Square, and then waited exactly where we got off for the 255 bus to arrive. We then took the bus from Pioneer Square to Kirkland Transit Center and instead of heading straight back home (taking the 245 to a park and ride 3/4 of a mile from our house and walking), we walked down to Caffe Ladro for hot chocolate, lattes, and breakfast sandwiches.

You might say that all this bus hopping doesn’t sound very convenient and I guess that’s true. Believe it or not, I’m not a big fan of convenience. Convenience seems to be the planet’s undoing right now, doesn’t it? I hate cars, I hate traffic, I hate feeling trapped and sitting all that extra time. I hate seeing car after car lined up on the highway carrying one lone person. I hate how being in a car allows me to zone out, allows me to sequester myself from the space that I’m in. I hate searching for parking, paying for parking, paying for gas, paying for tolls… paying for parking tickets! I hate that this is even an issue and something to make a big deal out of.

What it really comes down to, for me, is that I have an ever-present yearning to be in European cities. That’s kind of general, but I have yet to land in a city I haven’t liked. While we do plan to move back at some point in the far future and I go as often as I can, I have spent the last couple of years thinking about what it is that I’m really yearning for. Though of course the architecture and sights are lovely, it’s really the aspects of daily life that I long for – the mundane, the little details. Right now it’s probably something to do with how much I hate living in the ‘burbs, too! So over the past few years I have begun seeking out those details, learning how to bring those “European aspects” into wherever I happen to be at the moment. One of the most glaring and obvious aspects has been this issue of cars versus public transportation.

So even though it’s inconvenient, even though getting a flat tire on our one car the night before I had to drive someone to the airport at 5:30am, even though it took a couple of transfers and over an hour to get home afterwards, even though the sun had barely risen, I was a jolly ol’ happy camper.

*** I know, I know this sounds completely ridiculous to anyone without a car. I know. It is ridiculous. And I’m trying to convince all the other non-public transport riding folks out there of it.


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