--> divine angst: why I like public transportation

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

why I like public transportation

A year ago, Mr. Angst and I bought a car. A newish car—of the certified pre-owned species. It's a good car, reliable and fairly cushy. It's a near-luxury vehicle.

Today, Mr. Angst called me to say that our transmission was shot. The car—our beautiful car!—was bucking and wheezing. Any attempt to exceed 25 mph resulted in RPMs over 5000.


This is why I don't like cars. They fail. Even the best cars fail. I have a small economy car for myself and it is more than enough auto for me. Because it was cheap—and is now paid for—I don't worry as much about it failing. It was cheap! It drinks cheap gas!

But the nice car, the car we spent three months looking for, the car we drove 200 miles to buy so we could get the best deal? That car has failed.

I am bothered by the immediate depreciation of an automobile. Dealership requirements—spend hundreds of dollars every 15,000 miles just to keep your warranty valid—vex me. Gas is expensive, and more expensive on a nicer car, and this infuriates me.

For a time, I rode the bus to work every day. I lived half a block from the stop and the bus took me directly outside my building. It was delightful. I got lots of reading done on the bus; I could go home for lunch because the round trip only took 25 minutes. I saved money, used my legs, and never had to scavenge for a parking space.

But I don't live in that neighborhood anymore. Bus service to our current area is ridiculously scant, particularly for a neighborhood that is in the middle of our city. And my current job is not in a central location, as the last one was. So I have to drive. And I hate it.

The failing car is being repaired—for free, since there is, apparently, a known problem with transmissions on that make and model. And we have a cute, sporty loaner. But I'd much rather take a bus or a train.