I haven't had a car since 2003. That's nearly 10 years I have only driven my parents' vehicles, or I've driven rental cars. But I've never owned one of my own. Not for a long, long time. As you probably know, if you read this blog at all, I bike everywhere. To get my groceries, to run errands, to get to work, to get my hair done, to go to dance lessons, to hit the gym. Everyplace I've gone is by bike. Before I had my bike, I would walk everywhere. Obviously, this has limited my abilities to go places. Lots of times, I had to turn down parties, or occasions, because I really couldn't get there. We tried to space out our car rentals since they ended up being so expensive (with the rental, and the insurance, it was just too much). Our grocery shopping trips would be epic if we had a car. I would always be a little bit on edge the whole time we had the car, just because I knew it had to go back to where it came from and I needed to budget time and energy for that trek (and trust me, it's a trek!). Thankfully, I live off a bus line, and my parents can ride the bus for free with their Medicare card, but my family visits have been limited too.
Now, we've had a car two whole weeks. It's funny how much it can change your life in such a short time. I've hit the mall, and the grocery store. I've driven to the post office, and to Trader Joe's. I've driven into work, realized I have free parking on the weekends at work, and then driven into work again! We still do epic shopping trips - those might not end for a while. I just feel like the car might get taken away at any moment. Or that we have to return it soon. It hasn't really set in that it's our car (although with then car payments start, perhaps it will!). It's so nice, with OnStar and XM radio (free for 6 months!). I haven't forgotten how to drive, I've just forgotten what freedom you have with a car. I realize that most of the time, you don't really go anywhere but work, home, errands. But the possibilities are endless! We were talking about Hershey today - Hershey! The Chocolate Capital! We can go there! And eat chocolate! We can take the cat to the vet without strapping her to the back of the car! I can donate all those boxes of clothes in the basement to the Salvation Army without taking 25 trips on my bike!
It's also funny because Alex and I don't know how to drive together. Something that is such a fundamental part of most people's lives, is something I don't really know that much about my husband. One of my friend said her husband "always slams the car door". I thought, I have no idea if Alex slams doors or not. I do know that he can't parallel park, which I find hysterical. We once rented a minivan (don't ask why - I think we were "upgraded") and I had to park that damn thing because he couldn't get it in any spots on the street. I do know that he doesn't like to drive for pleasure. He's much more content to get where we're going, instead of enjoy the view while we go. Me, I'm pleased. I'm excited there's an XM station dedicated entirely to Pearl Jam. And, yes I still sing at the top of my lungs, like I can. Traffic doesn't bother me that much, even with a stick shift. I'm not sure how driving through San Francisco will go, but I'm sure we can do it. We can do anything. With our little car!