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It's easier to volunteer than be drafted

So, while I can go for long spans of time without needing a car and, whenever my wife is out of town on business, let the car sit in the parking spot or let her take it with her... well, my wife still drives. And last weekend, without much warning, we ended up carless all weekend because the car needed to go in for maintenance and it took much longer than expected. Now, it's not like we spent the whole weekend wailing and gnashing our teeth, maybe even rending our clothes... but it did throw a loop in our plans.

There's a very good reason why I try my hardest to keep my mouth shut when somebody mentions being carless for some amount of time... because, while it's not a huge hassle to reduce your car usage to nothingness, it really sucks to be suddenly drafted into the rank of carless.

Let me explain: See, I biked over to a friend's place. It's no biggie.. even when I was pudgy and out-of-shape, six miles is nothing. And my wife took the car in for the every-30k-mile service prepared to spend the afternoon there, only to find out that we really need to leave it overnight because they were backed up. And, furthermore, we've been doing pretty good about lowering the overall maintenance cost of our car by strictly following the manufacturer's maintenance intervals, which we'd like to continue.

And, so we walked to do our usual errands.. went on an early-valentine's-day-dinner, picked up groceries, etc. But if I knew I was going to spend the weekend carless, I would have ridden to my friend's house with both panniers, looped by the good grocery store with a good meat selection, and not had to go to the not-quite-as-nice grocery store. Because my friend's place was mostly-on-the-way to the nicer grocery store and I didn't get motivated to do the 10 mile round-trip later with my other random errands and chores and weekend on-goings.

Being carless is a mode switch. You need to think about different things. You get there different ways. You batch up errands differently. It's not bad, it's just different. But being thrown into the world of not driving without preparation is a bit of an unpleasant experience.

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