(to the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain”)
If someone gave me a car, for free, I still couldn’t afford to have one. Gas alone I could probably deal with, but no way I could also afford insurance, maintenance, and parking in Boston.
One of the perks of living in the city is that you don’t have to have a car. There are always ways to get where you’re going. Even though the MBTA is inexcusably flawed, in a lot of cases driving probably wouldn’t be much faster. I probably would still drive to work, because then I can leave when it’s convenient for me, rather than according to the bus schedules.
The real reason I want a car is for getting out of the city. Yes, there are trains and buses that will take you pretty much anywhere you’d like, but they can take forever, and if your real destination is five miles from the train station, well, tough luck. If you’re unfamiliar, figuring out the schedules and pickup/dropoff areas can be rather stressful, as well. Once I took a bus to New York with a friend, and we had a great time, but it turned out we didn’t know where the bus left New York to return to Boston. We wandered around for two hours or so, I called a friend to try to figure out where we could catch a bus home, and finally we came across one that, luckily, had empty seats.
I think of all the places I could go, whenever I wanted to, if I had a car. I could drive out to visit my parents for a day, and probably see them much more often. I could get myself down to my grandparents’ house for holiday gatherings (instead of having to take the train to my mom’s to get a ride there). Day trips to Providence, Plum Island, even New Hampshire or Vermont could happen. I would be able to go to Shalom Mountain, an amazing retreat center in upstate New York, without having to stress about how I’m going to get there–a large part of the reason I never end up going.
Like I said before, I don’t really want a car. I don’t want to own one and I don’t want to risk that I would end up driving everywhere, and give up walking, which is the majority of my exercise. I don’t want to have to dig it out of the snow in the winter, either, or be one of those people who keeps a trash can or a piece of furniture in “my” parking spot to make sure no one else can use it while I’m gone.
But it would be nice if there were a car available to me so that I could get anywhere beyond Boston without having to rely on other people to get there. Mainly because asking for a ride always seems like a big deal, for some reason.