Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Envy Scanman Circa 2005...

...because that Scanman didn't own a car.

It's funny, I am more jealous of people who don't have a car and don't need than I ever was of anyone who had a car when I didn't.

I never felt any joy in owning a car. I briefly owned a car when I was a teenager. I got it free but had to pay all the other other expenses and that was pretty substantial even in 1985.

I rarely feel the freedom of car ownership but I sure as hell feel the burden. Insurance, Registration, Gas, and repairs are only part of the obstacles that interfere with any auto pleasure. I know I'm not alone but since I have only owned a car for the last 3 and half years I know what it's like to be spared these expenses when I was living in NYC and Seattle.

Freedom! From most traffic rules, From parking issues, From fat accumulating. Seattle was ideal for a non car owner. Lots of other options at your disposal, including bike friendliness. If I was living in Seattle and had the same job with the same hours I have now I wouldn't need a car.

But I live in Jersey. The joke state. I made the mistake in moving back here because I put my trust in a woman who didn't earn it. After a year or so of getting by without a car, I was thinking that I might need it if I want to expand my options to get a better job than one in town or NYC. My Dad was getting a new car and thought I should have his old one. I was resistant because I was pretty cash poor at the time even for insurance.

It worked to a certain degree. I didn't get the dream job but was able to settle for a decent paying but less enjoyable option. And on the first official day of my job, That car got totaled in an accident that wasn't my fault. I got compensated fairly with a few extra hundred for that matter. But it wasn't enough to buy a decent car so I was out a few thousand dollars. Insurance and gas use increased too.

The car was fine but my commute was an hour and gas in 2008 went up to record levels. Somehow each one of my four tires went flat and two had to be replaced. Within 6 months my clutch went and I was out 1500 dollars. Man I wish I was able to commute but my hours at Newark Airport are insane. I start at 5AM which disallowed commuting by public transportation in Atlantic Highlands.

So I'm stuck with a car that I rather not have, I rarely drive on my days off. I use my bicycle to get around or I take a bus into the city when I feel like doing something fun.

Meanwhile I'm making steady progress in saving enough money in hopes to move back to Seattle. Sure enough anytime I reach a certain amount of money my car ensures that I have some financial setbacks. Insurance increased a lot when I moved closer to my job. I guess they're not fond of the demographics in the nearby towns. soon after moving I kept getting the "check engine" light on. I went two years without it but every time I dealt with it it would pop on soon after getting it "fixed". However, I learned that it would come on and off periodically and I just dealt with it.

Anyway, I'm dealing with it until inspection time came. Another expense I avoided was fixing my windshield. It got dinged by a large stone that came off a truck that I lost track of. the ding became a large crack that didn't interfere with my line of vision.I waited until inspection so when it failed I would get it fixed. More $$$$$$. I got my oil changed then I got my windshield fixed the next day. On the way to getting it fixed the "check engine" light came on and it hasn't come off since. A friend at work who used to work for the motor vehicle bureau ensured me I didn't have to worry about getting reinspected for 6 months. So I waited for any opportunity for the "check engine" light to light off but it never came.

Then I made a mistake in going to the shore. And I made the BIGGER mistake in taking the scenic route through the Fascist town of Sea Bright. Sea Bright is one of those rich towns that likes to set up "cop stops" to hassle people on their way to having fun as a way of making revenue that would involve raising the taxes of the wealthy of the town who somehow are able to claim stretches of beaches as their own.

Well, I was one of several men that had to pull over, the only one who was white. I was the last one to be held because sure enough my rejection sticker was a violation despite my work friend's assurance. $130! That put a damper on my day down the shore.

So anyway, Since I was fair game for the cops, I needed to deal with my car. so I go to my auto store to deal with a situation that needed taken care off, Along with determining what made the "check engine" light keep lighting up. I was quoted on what struts would cost and I figured in the average cost of the three times I came in to fix the "check engine" light situation. Then I doubled it to highball the cost thinking I was secure in what I was gonna pay. Well, I low balled it by a lot. I won't take care of the struts in order to deal with the "check engine" situation and even THAT is costing me hundreds of dollars more than my highball figure.


God, I hate having a car.

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