Wednesday, July 8, 2015

One Household, One Car

If you've never watched the movie Office Space, stop whatever you're doing. Right now.

Get yourself some popcorn, grab some "flare" and get on Netflix.

Because somebody had A Case of the Mondays this week: my husband and I.

This week he was scheduled to work about 5 hours away from home for a few days. He lovingly offered to take our daughter to the grocery store with him to stock up our shelves for me while he's gone. So coming home, with a trunk full of groceries and in a stretch of road with spotty cell service, my car died on him.

It died a hard, potentially permanent death, too: timing belt. Ugh. Perfect timing!
Who taught this kid how to drive?!
So, with two of the three car rental agencies out of inventory and the third having been shut down last month, we made a decision. Though we didn't have much of a choice, we decided to try living without.

I grew up in a rural area, about five miles from the nearest store (thank goodness for Stewart's!) and about 20 minutes from town. That's not too much different from where we live now. And when I was a kid, having a car meant things, like freedom and independence and opportunity. To me, it always has.

So this week I am home in our small house with two kids, no husband and no car. I do have help. Wonderful friends are driving my daughter to daycare this week. My mom will be visiting to help out next week and will give us a lift to meet up with my husband. When he's around, he lets me drive his car. But this is definitely a situation that, a few years ago, would have caused me some undeniable feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety.

But today, it's an experiment.

And while we try out this new lifestyle, a whole bunch of questions are coming up for me. What do I need?

What do I really need?

Do I really need my own car? Do I feel like I should be entitled to have a car? Do I have entitlement issues? What is the best way to spend our money? What is the best choice for our family? Will I feel more free or more caged by not having a car? How did our society buy into the idea that every person should have their own car? Or, more importantly, why?

Lots of people I know live without a car, or only one car in their families. I know it can be done and done happily.

The question I have to answer is: Can I do it?

I'll run this experiment for the next few weeks and let you know if downsizing on autos is the way to go, or if it will have me flagging down the next bus to the car dealer!