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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

I don't own a car. A few years ago, on a very snowy day, when a friend was at the wheel and we were driving to a convention in Boston, it skidded and crashed into a guard rail. Baruch Hashem, no one was hurt at all, but Mabel, my Olds, was totaled. I think had she been under nine years old she might not have been, but as it was...

So. I have enjoyed the freedom of being carless. I don't have to worry about alternate side of the street parking, whereby residents have to make sure their cars do not inhabit a side of the street at posted times - in my old neighborhood, for three hours a day twice a week. Here, it's 90 minutes. In both cases, it's during working hours. I don't have to worry about parking my car where I work, which is almost impossible. I can take the bus or subway basically anywhere in the city, and everything I need is in walking distance, and the stores deliver. I don't need to feed meters.

If mass transit isn't an option, I can call a car service, or rent a car, depending on time and destination. While both cost money, neither cost as much as car payments and insurance would. It is, in fact, not cost effective for someone living in New York, even if she rented a car every weekend to go to New Jersey, to own a car.

My brother won't believe it. *He* owned a car when he lived in Manhattan. And he rented a garage space to pay for it, so that he didn't have to worry about alternate side. This is a car I'd probably drive no further than to change a parking space most weeks. Back in the old neighborhood, it was useful in that I could take it shopping because there were no kosher stores there. However, in the year or so between losing Mabel and moving, I found that it was perfectly simple to take mass transit to the kosher stores and, depending how much groceries I had, either taking the same mass transit back *or* taking a cab.

Yes, there are times I'd like to own a car. But then I think about how it would cost us money and time and worry, and realize that I'm better off *not*. Which my brother, for some reason, thinks is very selfish of me. At least, that's the impression I got.


I'd just be jealous. If it were possible for me to live where I do without a car, I'd be the first in line to sell the one I own.

How much older than you is this boy?

My brother is exactly seven years older than I am, if you go by the Hebrew date. Which puts him in his midforties. He's never been married, nor, so far as we know, has he ever been a serious relationship with anyone, male or female. (I can hear my husband saying to me re brother, "He should find himself a nice boy already!")

You know, I knew he was older. He sounds just like a 16 year old kid who's just got himself a car and is terrified he's going to be stuck taking his baby sister to her girl scout meetings!

No comment on the other, except to say that I wish my little brother would find himself a nice boy and settle down too.

It's *selfish* of you not to have a car? Well, it's selfish of your brother not to BUY you one. :-)

My husband agrees with you. :)

I'd like to know just who your brother thinks you are being selfish to. I'm honestly puzzled.

Cars (ick)

Mama Deb,

If I could live or even function in Los Angeles without a car I would in a NY minute. I hate to drive, but it's hard enough living here with a car and because I live in one of the canyons near Pasadena, it would be nearly impossible to get around with out one. It's a long long walk to the bus stop and then, after a long long wait, the bus is never going where I am.

I'm going to the Comic-Con in San Diego next weekend. I'm driving to Union Station, parking and taking the train because I just hate to drive and Amtrak goes right where I need to go. So I salute you and support you in your car-free lifestyle. Beats me how you're being selfish by not polluting the air and giving your money to the insurance company, but I guess your brother knows what he's talking about.


The selfish thing is that I'm not taking care of my mother the way *he* is. Never mind that he lives fifteen minutes away and I live a good hour. If things were reversed, if she lived in my neighborhood, of course, I'd be taking care of my mother more. That's what happens with proximity, but she doesn't want to live in Brooklyn. T

This came to a head after my mother's accident, when he wanted me to A. spend Shabbat with her, which basically traps me in her apartment all day because there's nothing in walking distance, and she doesn't observe *or* keep kosher - she pretended she did for a while, but I finally told her I'd rather know the truth. My mom has a thing about obfuscation. Anyway, they all assumed for no reason that I'd spend the Shabbat after my mother got out of the hospital with them, and so I disappointed them by not doing something I never said I'd do. My brother's snide remark, "Well, it's a good thing I'm *not* so picky" was especially annoying. Especially since it became clear that he was not spending all his time taking care of Mom, either. "I was trapped in the apartment with mom all Saturday." "You came and went, right?" "Well, yes." *Sheesh*

And that leads me to B. For some reason, I didn't want to quit my job and spend all my time in New Jersey with my mother, and that bothered him. Why, he'd have to spend...from what I gathered from my mother (who is, I admit, other than trustworthy)exactly as much time with her as he did before her accident. I mean, the day after her accident, I took the day off and rented a car and ran to the hospital to find...he'd gone to work. And he's on salary with sick days and vacation days. I'm part time. I don't work, I don't get paid. My mother's friend ferried her to the doctors, and she could easily get a car service - for which insurance would reimburse her. Insurance also paid for four weeks of a home health care worker, and my mom only took two of those weeks because she found she managed fine on her own. I'd call her and she'd be out to lunch with friends.

He's scared of having the whole burden of my mother on him, and we're both realizing that however selfsufficient Mom is at seventy, this can only last so long. If I had a car, I could more easily come out during emergencies. I actually do understand his fear.