A conversation at work got me thinking about unusual it is now to be a one car family.
The conversation went a little like this:
- Colleague A runs in two minutes late: I’m so sorry! The bus didn’t turn up on time
- Me: Never mind, it happens. How did the house move go?
- Colleague A: Great thanks. We’re just settling in.
- Me: Super, oh here’s Colleague B who catches the same bus as you. (feel free to insert chatter about buses, turning up early/late/two at once etc)
- Colleague A: Well I’m never catching the bus again, that was a disaster!
- Me: Why don’t you walk? It’s not that far.
- Colleague A looks shocked: Oh, you think I could walk in? It’s got to be about 30 minutes!
I take a call and a few minutes later hear:
- Colleague B: Have you thought about walking?
- Colleague A: I thought about it but it’s a 45 minutes walk, just too far to walk everyday.
Note how the journey time has suddenly increased? Now me being me I checked the distance and it would take me 25 minutes to walk from Colleague A’s house to work. A little less than I currently walk** and when I mentioned this to Colleague A we got this nugget:
Oh, I couldn’t possibility walk that far!
Now the above attitude from Colleague A has got my back up. But it’s not the first time I’ve noticed that being a one car family makes us odd. It’s odd to only have one car. Odd to walk to work. Odd to need lifts when friends decide to meet up, especially when you have a car seat to tow along. It’s very odd to pay £12 for a taxi to meet for a play/coffee date.
I believe it’s odd because when you’re a two car family you don’t even consider how you could not have that extra car. You just couldn’t cope!* God forbid you have to use your legs. You couldn’t possibly run the risk of being rained on, never mind consider how your car-less friend is going to get to your-out-of-the-way-must-try-cafe. My favorite comment is always the “I forgot you don’t have car” one and I think oh, don’t worry it’s only been for over 8 years now.
So I do get grouchy now and then and when I’ve calmed down I think about my one car lifestyle and……….
…I remember that I have strong legs to walk. I have the money to spend on taxi’s*** when I choose to. I have the ability to work part-time. I have buses and trains within walking distance. I will be clearing my credit card debts this year. I plan to save, save, save to give myself and my family options. Spending money on car tax, insurance, petrol, services etc would hamper me in all of the above.
I’m certainly better off than Colleague A who has now decided to buy a new car so that she can drive 15 minutes to a car park and then walk 15 minutes to work! Honestly – you couldn’t make that craziness up!
*feel free to insert sarcasm if wished.
**Walking straight home to work takes me 30 minutes. Add in the school drop off and detour to preschool and my morning ‘commute’ takes an hour.
***an occasional taxi is still cheaper than running a car