Retrofitting Vintage

Real Life Vintage Lifestyle: The One Car Family

This is not The Fish. The Fish is not that cute. Of course, most cars look cuter with The Alps behind them.
This is not The Fish. The Fish is not that cute. Of course, most cars look cuter with The Alps behind them.

The mister and I both brought cars into this relationship. His, a bought new vehicle that is reliable, fuel-efficient, and pretty, but not fancy. Mine, a 1998 Chevy Prism with an ichtyus permanently attached to it by previous owners, affectionately known as “The Fish.” The Fish has finally bit the dust, or at least gotten to the point where spending any money to fix it seems like folly. Poor fishy. May you rest in peace, or more likely, pieces, as you go on to another life as an NPR donation.

The loss of The Fish has lead to an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is about frugality and sustainability. I live in a city with good (though certainly imperfect) public transportation. I am a fifteen minute walk to the train, multiple bus lines are steps away from my door.  My grocery store is a block away. I work at home. My partner has a car. I don’t need one. Nope. I look at the details of my life, and I am not a person who needs a car.

The mister is not convinced. You have to remember we’re from Michigan, the birthplace of the auto industry. Also a place that is almost impossible to traverse without a car. So I’m approaching it as an experiment. An attempt to lighten my load of possessions and pollution, to find out how that works in my life.

Here are the pros:
Not spending money on insurance, parking, gasoline, car payments, or yearly fees.
More socially responsible.
I will get more exercise.
I don’t actually like driving all that much.

Here are the cons:
Winter.
Occasionally both members of our household need to be in different places that would both be easier to get to by car.
If I ever get a gig out in the suburbs, this will get considerably more complicated.

Of course, what feels like a revolution to me is really how lots and lots of people do things. Many people in Chicago don’t drive at all, many people in the world share one motorbike amongst an entire family. Hardly a great sacrifice or world-altering event, really. Just a little adjustment. We shall see how it goes.

 

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