With family life came two sequential, nearly identical Volvo wagons. Le Duc babied that car for 17 years, and it ran–still runs–with stolid dependability, a Harrison Ford of a vehicle.
|Long may you run|
I liked its cheery cherry boxiness, tight turning radius, dog and child-accommodating bench seats. Privately, however, I bided my time. One day, I dreamed, we would go car-free.
I can't stand depreciating assets; I'm aggrieved when something costly erodes. It's not just a matter of burning fossil fuels, spewing emissions, all that environmental stuff– though I'm on board with that, too.
Cars generate stress for me. I don't enjoy driving, I don't like the expense, and who was the jerk who drove into our trunk and then took off, last month?
So, we did it. We had originally planned to sell the car when we moved to Montréal, but Le Duc wasn't ready. Then, one day he was; might have been one of those $110 fill-ups. A genial professor bought it within a few days of posting on Kijiji.
This decision is possible because of our transit-rich neighbourhood: two bus routes stop in front of our building; two subway lines are a three-minute bus ride or ten-minute walk. There are two Communauto car rentals a few blocks away, a longer-term car rental agency just down the street, a Bixi (rental bike) stand at the corner, and, if feeling flush, a cab stand across the street. Le Duc has a bike. About all we're missing is a helipad on the roof.
And, since the major expense categories for seniors are housing and transportation, reducing the transit cost by hundreds of dollars a month would free up money for other priorities.
People say, "Well, I'd do that too, but I need my car." Some who think they require one or multiple cars may find that with planning or re-orientation, they don't. (I've always chosen where I live with commuting time and transit options top of the list.)
We have friends in Toronto who went decades without a car, even with a child. Now in their sixties, they bought one. So, each person decides whether and when. We may find that we want a car; I won't say need. It won't be need; it will be for the ease, the convenience.
We'll see. We are learning as we go what's necessary and what's habit, in this stage of life.
And right now, two months into no car, I love it; Le Duc is still seeing. Cars are very deep with guys.