Friday, June 1, 2012

Why I don't want to drive or own a car/vehicle

Most people, when learning that I don't drive, like to try and convince me to learn and that having your own transportation is empowering and much much better than anything that I am currently doing.
But I beg to differ, there are many many reasons that owning and/or using a car is far more difficult and troublesome that it could ever be worth for me. Here are my reasons why

1. It costs too much and is too much of a risk. Even if I turn out to be a good driver, even if I buy a fuel efficient car, even if I can use it often and easily, it is still a risk because the world at large is a risk.

I know you might say that I face the same kind of risks on public transit, but I feel safer on public transit than I do in a personal vehicle because transit has hundreds of safety measures around to keep me safe. Things like cameras, police that are specifically assigned to public transit, heavy duty vehicles driven by drivers that have to face testing and training far harsher than an ordinary driver on the road. Yes accidents have still happened, and people have still died, but those accidents are still more rare than motor vehicle accidents by people with private vehicles. I still see way to many people using their cell phones while driving to ever feel that being a driver next to the cars with people who are not even watching the road is better than being on the light rail train built twenty feet or so from them. The train wins in safety compared to the drivers on the road when it comes to getting home faster too. I almost laugh sometimes when I see grid-locked traffic looking out the C-Train that is traveling about 30kph totally past all those hundreds of people in their cars thinking that their independent travel gets them home faster than a train. It looks like a parking lot sometimes, and I get to just coast right through it without any hesitation except for the 20-30 second stops at stations. 
I mean, it boggles my mind that people have to leave this personal property, that cost literally thousands, if not almost the same cost as your house or your cell phone and you have to leave it unattended, in public, often, regularly. My mom got her windows broken just a about a month ago while she was at work, and she was parked in the staff parking that is supposed to have extra security for them! Also, you have to replace your car or whatever every few years, that is a HUGE expense.
I have worn the same glasses for 8 years, and had the same laptop for 5, I don't want to have to change and go through all the stress of buying, renewing, managing, repairing. All these things cost money. Why pay all this money for such relatively risky venture? I often wish my shoes would never wear out, I'm not one for fashion, I just like it when things work well. Like when shoes are comfortable, but unfortunately they never stay that way, because I use them, you know, for walking, not just wearing to look nice. It's the same with cars, if they would last forever, if people drove safer(without using cell phones) and I didn't have to spend all my money on fuel and insurance and such, I might think having a car is a good idea, but that will never happen, so, it is not a good idea.
I think it's just for a wasteful to spend so much money to make life go far too fast in my opinion. A bus pass, or even regular transit fare is a much better value in my view, because I really do know how to make the most of it! In Calgary, there are almost 500 different bus routes, and three train routes, in ten years, there's supposed to be a fourth train route. There is literally bus service everywhere in my city, and they are working on making it even better. I saw a rating scale once that said that Calgary was either 3 or 4 on the best cities for public transit in Canada. Some places are not as good as Calgary, and I think everyone should take better advantage of the public services provided here at a very reasonable rate! Much more reasonable than the cost and maintenance of a personal vehicle for sure!

2. You miss so much by driving rather than doing public transit or walking, etc.

I know that it can seem like a annoying thing to wait and wait when you want to be where you are going sooner than a bus can arrive or that it seems like too much effort to walk for a few blocks, but honestly, that time spent waiting is a gift. There is so much thinking that I do when I am waiting/walking/riding public transit. I love thinking about many many things, also reading and even writing in public. If I was driving, thinking about anything other than driving would be dangerous, and yes many people do that, and it leads to many horrible accidents. Being in a car, or any other vehicle other than public transit makes me feel claustrophobic, and a little nausea too. I often feel 'trapped' even in a relatively comfortable car because in a car you're kind of 'stuck' there until your at the place where you are going. Now, I'm OK with being in a car/personal vehicle for long periods of time if that is the best choice.
That is, if I really just want to get from point A to point B. Usually only for out of city kind of traveling.
Within my own city, Calgary, I would rather travel by public transit, it feels more free to me. I can get off the bus at any time I want. I know there are usually plenty of connecting buses and options for getting back on my journey to work/store/home/library/church/etc and I know to give myself plenty of time to get where I am going. I am often annoyed by the rush that people who drive cars seems to be in, as a person who doesn't drive, the journey to a place is just as important as being at the place. All the places in between the place where I am going and/or coming from are important to me. I feel disoriented when I have not seen all the places in between. Or I feel that I missed out on stopping somewhere or learning about the whole area of a place if I don't get to take public transit to that place. I like having options and freedoms available to me. I want to know that there is a convenience store just a couple blocks away from a friend that I am visiting so that if I really need a snack, I don't have to rely on my friend/acquaintance/family member to get it for me.
I know your going to say that if I had a car than I could go to that store, and probably see it on my way there as well, but that isn't always the truth, and I would again know that every drive in 'my' car would cost me, while public transit pays for itself after about a week, if you use it like I do. Also, I like being by myself when you have a car, and you visit someone, then you want to go to the store quickly for a snack, that friend will likely want to come with, but if you say you want to take a walk, they might come with you as well, but usually not. While being around strangers on public transit is not always comfortable, but on public transit, I have the choice to move away from others most times. In a car, your stuck, in close quarters, with whoever is in the car with you. I like being with friends sometimes, but I also like being able to create a sense of my own space, you can't do that in a car. I like to think I learn about others from a certain distance and usually have more interesting stories to tell than people who drive, because drivers can hardly see other drivers, or know anything about them. I like learning about people, even if it makes me uncomfortable, it's usually just for 10-15 minutes or less, and I have the choice to move physically, away from people. Also, I like walking, I know that to look at me, you wouldn't think that I am that physically active, but I walk probably about 30 minutes a day just getting to and from work. I also stand and walk around at work most of the time, but I'm telling you about public transit, and part of public transit is walk ways. I think that more people should walk, most people these days don't even think of walking as a way of transporting yourself, when it should be the first thing that comes to mind! This is why the shoes of people who drive don't wear out like mine to, because they rarely do more than take fifty steps to their cars or something like that! Now, there plenty of walk ways in Calgary, but many of them are unfinished, which is annoying and dangerous. I think that if more people wanted to walk to places, more of these walk ways would be finished sooner, because people would be demanding that they get done. I usually love finding unique ways to get to places, that, with cars would be nearly impossible because of roads. I know of more than a few places where, to get from place to place walking, albeit through some broken chain link fence and across some empty lots, is faster than trying to get to said places by car, where a driver would have to go in circles twice or three times to get the right turn off, and even then, it's one of those annoying busy turn offs where things seem to take forever to let you through.
It is difficult to carry things that you buy when you have to walk, but I think it really makes you think more about what you do buy and how you are going to get it home. I think I am sometimes more responsible with how I spend my money because I have to carry what I buy for a few blocks. I'm thinking that's good exercise anyways, and I know I need more of that! Other people, who drive might like to pay fees to get fit at special gyms and stuff, but I prefer to just have things like carrying home 20 pounds of fruit as an effort to keep me from getting too much fatter than I already am. 

3. I don't need to buy something that everyone else has, also, cars are made with more than one seat, and usually many people, from relatively close to where I live, are going to places that I am going to as well. 

Which means that they should be willing to let me be in the seats in their vehicles that are not being used by them. My weight is not going to affect their fuel consumption very much, and even then, I am willing to pay a reasonable amount if they just ask me or allow me to do so. Also, I don't do things just because everyone else is doing them. Just because it's popular doesn't mean it's smart or a good choice for me. I do things that are good choices for me. If I really needed a car, I'd get one, but I don't and I won't. Personally, I have decided that I won't get a car unless I get a husband and he wants to move to a rural location where we build our own house. Until, or IF that sort of impossible dream happens. I don't need a car. I probably wouldn't need a car anyways, if I had a husband, even if we moved to a rural location, because he would drive me anywhere I wanted, if this hypothetical husband existed.  Or, if I got a kind of job that needed a car all the time, then I would get one, but I don't have that kind of job, and I probably won't in the near future either. It isn't wise for me to spend money I don't have, I see others do it all the time, spend money they don't have, and I have falling into that trap at times as well, and I am just escaping it and not willing to make more of the same kind of mistakes as that. If I made about 90 percent more than the cost of a car in a year, I might get one, but seeing as I make about the cost of a car in one year, it would be stupid of me to get one only to have even more horrible consumer debt than I already have. I think there are way too many cars and other personal vehicles out there anyways, and the automobile industry is too tricky and I just don't want to invest in something I don't understand on a fundamental level. I want to be the person that forces others to see that they act too rich and take themselves to seriously because they drive personal vehicles. I honestly get this impression from people who drive that they think they are better than me because they own and drive a car. As if I have suddenly turned into a ugly street person by being someone who advocates public transit and *gasp* expects them to share their resource that they under utilize on a regular basis.
I know, I'm soap-boxing about being a bit more 'green' but really, it's only by happenstance.
Usually, asking someone for a ride is a last resort for me, I always seek out all possible options, and about 8 times out of 10, I take those options rather than ask someone for a ride, even if it is taking a taxi. Taxis are public transit too, and even though they are sometimes too expensive, they can be very useful. There are some places in the world that don't even have taxis, or standardized fares, so being in a city that has plenty of taxis, and standardized fares is good, but if that option cannot be used, or if it seems reasonable for me to ask a friend who has spoken the fateful phrase at any point in time to me "If you need anything, just ask me"
I know many people don't mean it when they say it, but if you know me, you should watch out what you say, because I will call every bluff you make, that's a promise.  

4. It's too much effort, for little reward for me to learn to drive.

Most people who learn that I can't even drive, even though I tell them I have no need of owning a car and cannot afford it say that I should at least learn how to drive. But I don't see the point in learning to drive if I do not plan on immediately using that skill. Also, learning to drive is expensive and time consuming, there are many other things I would rather do, and that I need to do, rather than learn how to drive. Honestly, I think most of the reason that people want me to learn how to drive is because they can't stand it that I'm different than them. It's like when they give me fashion advice or life advice about things, I know they mean well, but so much of people's advice is 'Be Just Like Me'. Now, I am not saying that anyone should be like me, even though sometimes I too am guilty of that, I like being different, I feel like I should have the right to be different, to not actually do every single thing that everyone else does. Yes, I will happen to do many of the same things as other people, often without knowing, and that is the best way. That would mean that I am being myself, and common things being common, I know that I will do many of the same things as other people, and I like that. I also like feeling like I made the choice to do those things, and you didn't make that choice for me. I don't like being pressured into doing anything, and often I will eventually learn everything that other people have learned, in my own time. And often I will have learned other things that other people do not care about at all, but are very important to me about the world because I didn't obey people who told me to learn something, just to be like they are.

These are my reasons, I probably have more, that I just don't remember or can't really explain, but I think this is enough for now.

1 comment:

Roni said...

That is awesome your public transportation is so easy to use! We have the Metro here and if we ever need to go to DC we have to drive 30min to get to the station...but we do and I love it! It's so nice to not have to be in the rush and stress of thing and enjoy the scenery..well until the tracks go