Saturday, July 26, 2014

How About FahrvergNOgen

My friendly neighborhood credit union has agreed to purchase this vehicle and let me stick a Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem on it and park it in my carport.

You think that's silly? Progressive has agreed to let me drive it!

Being without a car for a couple of years has probably skewed my view of car "ownership." It's hard to spend money on a car (as opposed to a bike, amirite??), because it's a ridiculously expensive thing just to keep around idle, even more ridiculously expensive actually to use - that's if it doesn't break down or get bashed up - and loses value faster than Broom Hilda went through bobby pins. But, as cars go, this seems like a decent value for the money. It's small, it's a stick shift, and the miles are very low. It has paint, upholstery, and air conditioning. The radio works, as do all the doors and windows. So it's pretty short on character, but I guess you can't have everything.

What I really wanted was a 1967 Karmann Ghia listed on Craigslist for $3000, which was perfect, except for missing part of the floor. I was cool with that. So you have a little additional stopping power, right? But "practicality" prevailed.

The argument for a "practical" car was that I'm going back to school this fall. It means my schedule is full, with long days, and a limited amount of time to get from work, to the UT campus for one class, to ACC campus for another one. It isn't the distance, and as far as time goes, it's definitely faster to get around central Austin by bike than by car. It's more the part of town and the time of night I'd need to be there. Austin Community College's East Riverside campus is where that woman was sexually assaulted last Saturday, and just a couple of blocks from Cody Johnson's ghost bike.

Driving is scary, when you aren't used to it. The responsibility of operating even a little bitty car like this one is a bit overwhelming. Plus, it's unwieldy and inconvenient. You're restricted to going where cars go - highways and parking lots - which often travel at about the same speed, and in any case are not pretty or fun.

Oh, but I wish everyone would bike. Just to try it! It really should scare the crap out of you to drive, you know? You should approach it as if you were carrying a primed bomb with you, everywhere you went. And if people would get over the idea of cars as an indispensable convenience, when they so often aren't convenient at all, the world would be a considerably quieter and less smelly place. Well, at least until you got to the office.

Anyway, I signed up for one of Progressive's "Snapshot" devices, which it's my goal to confound thoroughly by driving my car as little as humanly possible. Maybe I can sell it in 40 years as a classic, missing a floor maybe, but with under 100K miles! What a bargain.

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