About a year and a half ago my husband and I did the unthinkable . . . we sold one of our two cars. Obviously the unthinkable element of this requires some explanation, as anyone who lives in a city with (effective) mass transit is surely scratching his or her head and wondering why we even need one car. But anyone who lives in Richmond, Virginia, a small-to-mid-size city with mass transit in the shape of a mostly impossible to figure out bus system, is wondering if we suffered a bout of temporary insanity.
In defense of our lucidity we live downtown and I work about twelve blocks from home. I am taking graduate classes about ten blocks in the other direction from our home and one of the most functional bus routes runs between my workplace and the university (and is free to me as a student). I also participate in a car-sharing service, which gives me the ability to attend infrequent off-site meetings for work. Basically, we were the best case scenario for becoming a one car family. It no longer made sense to store a car in the garage “just in case.”
However, as is apt to happen in one-car household, we recently spent a brief period of time with no car. A zero-car family. Through rentals, car- shares, rides from the friendly dealership shuttle and probably a dash of good luck, we navigated through the four- day stretch with little interruption to our work or social lives.
But this experience did give me pause. Not pause to question our decision to jettison our second car; but pause to consider those who do not have a car at all. Those who cannot afford all the rentals and shares and shuttles that we can. And this left me thankful (appropriately, in light of the season), not only for the one car we have but also equally for the ability to live my life, so comfortably without that second car.