So I’m leaving today to go down to Long Island for the weekend, in order to pay homage to the Maternal Unit, and I’ve come to realize something: I love having a car, but I really hate driving anywhere.
When I first moved to southeastern Pennsylvania, my fiancée and I were here for about a week before my old car died. It was a white 2000 Pontiac Grand Am, and I’d had that car for close to 10 years. It had been steadily falling apart, but I thought I could get a few more months out of it; boy was I wrong. In the end it was worth about $150 in cash from the junker, and it was with a heavy heart I watched it get winched onto the flatbed and hauled off to end up being parted out in some junkyard somewhere. It still hurts to think about.
It was nearly a year until I was able to get my hands on a new car. In the meantime, it was only through the generosity of our landlord that allowed us to stay mobile, as he had an extra vehicle that he rarely used. We kept it filled with gas and maintained, and he allowed us to take it to go food shopping and visit doctors and the like. It was a tan ’98 Chrysler 300 that had been a luxurious land-beast maybe 14 years ago, but time had not been kind to it; while our landlord had quit some years ago, he had been a heavy smoker, and the car had that good old baked-in funk that you’d expect from literally years of carcinogens being released into it. It had a big, fat, gas guzzling engine, the trunk had to be propped open with a bit of wood or it would come down on your neck with guillotine-like force, and the tires need re-inflating every 48 hours, but it was the only thing keeping us from having to take a cab to and from Wal-Mart to go food shopping every week, so we were grateful as hell for the loaner.
Finally, the planets aligned and we got ourselves a new car, a black 2002 Honda Civic that had made its way into my uncle’s auto body shop. He cut us a great deal on it, and we were on the road again! Little did I know that this meant we would be driving fucking everywhere. It’s a great little car, gets amazing gas mileage, and is so easy to parallel park it’s absolutely unbelievable, but now we’re constantly out and about.
This is a problem because I am an inherently lazy motherfucker. No longer can I use the excuse of “we really can’t go, it’s not right for us to be using the car for X” any more, since we’re not borrowing a car and have our own once again. This means all manner of trips down to see family – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah, Easter/Passover (I draw the line at Purim, though) – and it’s god damned exhausting. Especially since everyone lives on Long Island and we’ve got to either cut through Manhattan or brave Staten Island (and we all know how much I love that choice). It also feels like the worst idea ever, since we’re saving for our wedding but we’ve got to budget a billion dollars to take the trip, between gas, tolls, and that gastrointestinal terrorism they call rest stop food.
Still, it will be good to see family – except for my brother’s girlfriend, who will undoubtedly tell me that Twilight is better than the collected works of William Shakespeare. I swear, I don’t know what he sees in her. Maybe it’s because she’s taller than him and he’s afraid she’ll kick his ass if he breaks up with her.