In early January, we went car-free. We advertised the car on Kijiji, parked it in the driveway and cheerfully ignored it. (We figured out after a couple of weeks that the Mazda5 did not like being ignored in the winter and I dutifully took it out for exercise once a week to keep the battery in shape.)
We signed up for vrtucar, the local car-sharing outfit. I booked a car now and then for big loads of groceries or for taking the children to medical appointments. We got Presto cards and four-fifths of the family embraced the bus enthusiastically. The fifth member hates the bus: too hot, sometimes late, and full of other people. Whenever he comes with us on bus trips the bus seems to be late on purpose, thus reinforcing all his biases and forcing us to listen to his moaning.
We took Uber to the aviation museum and to the children’s hospital for a little emergency one Saturday night. (Did you know that it costs the same amount to Uber there and back to CHEO as it does to park in their parking lot?) The spouse continued to walk to work, over the glorious new bridge at Adàwe crossing, and I started walking part of the way with him. We love those quiet walks together in the morning. I walked to the nearby grocery store for smaller shoppings and remembered the days of my youth, lugging bags of milk home through the snow.
The shift to the car-free life has been surprisingly easy and enjoyable. But…
The goldurned Mazda5 has not sold. Selling the car has been on my to-do list since November. I did lots of running around in the fall: having the safety inspection done, getting the emergency brake fixed, having it detailed within an inch of its life. (Greater love hath no woman than this, than to walk along Cyrville Road in January to get the car cleaned). I followed the instructions on how to sell your car: put it on Kijiji, put it on autotrader.ca, provide a record of maintenance when people indicate interest. We’ve had a few bites, but nothing conclusive. One guy who wanted to use it for camping decided on another car. It would be perfect for a couple who likes camping. It would be perfect for a family with very small children.
It’s been a great car for us. We got it in 2007 when #2 was one year old. We had grown out of our little Toyota Tercel and had plans for one more child. That child arrived in 2008 and at one time the car contained a booster seat and two infant carseats, with the ever-present stroller in the back of the car. It has carried lumber for our many renovation projects. One day I had the loony idea of buying a sofa-bed at IKEA and loading it into the Mazda by myself. An IKEA employee came to my rescue and we managed to wedge it in. Countless cheerios and baby carrots have been consumed in the two back seats, all evidence of which is now gone. I realize that cars are much more luxurious now, but in 2007 we were thrilled to have power windows and a CD player. I felt pangs when we decided to go car-free, not because I love having a car per se, but because that Mazda had carried our very young family around. Now that the children are old enough to bike and walk almost everywhere, the Mazda has become obsolete for our family.
By now, however, I am over my pangs. We’ve made our decision, and now we want the car to go. All of us want to be free!