Friday, October 25, 2013

selling my last car

Today, I will sell the last car I will ever own. It's a good car -- a 2000 Dodge Caravan SE -- but finances are tight around the house and the fact is I use the car very little (supermarket, doctor's appointments and an occasional photographic adventure).

On the one hand, it's a relief: No more insurance premiums, no more repairs. On the other, it's the sale of my sense of definition and sense of self-sufficiency. The scenario is not especially novel -- older people often feel this lash -- but, since it's new to me, it's new. And it's interesting that those offering solace are most frequently those who don't face the problem... sorta like 'celibate' Catholic priests mewling about the sanctity of matrimony or child birth.

My wife and son both have cars, so I will be able to borrow, but borrowing is not the same as having the unhindered freedom that goes with "my car." "My car" has been an assumption for so long and now that assumption has been mortally challenged.

How many other unexamined assumptions do I make? Lots is my guess. They lie in the background of things, not especially interesting or coveted ... until they are undermined or taken away. And since advancing age is largely a matter of losing things, each loss stands taller in its impact.

No one else cares much about my loss and the fact of the matter is that it doesn't currently upset me that much either
(I haven't sold the car just yet). But it whispers and weeps a little, I guess.

Bit by bit by bit, the assumptions fall off.

Which makes me wonder a little ... what was the need for this assumption or these assumptions in the first place? I can't quite remember.


  1. better to take it away now before you get too old and become a menace behind the wheel. think of all the children you'll be saving!

    do you have a bicycle? that's a better way to get around town, in my opinion.

  2. I gave up the ownership of a personal vehicle about 3 years ago, Adam. It's amazing how deeply our sense of "freedom" is linked to the instant mobility we have within a relatively large area--and how easily we can clutter that space/time with additional activity.

    Spending significant amounts of time in a metal box hurtling through space/time also has an impact on consciousness itself, it seems. I'm definitely happier and more relaxed without it.

    Of course, I do have the use of a car on a regular basis to cover the basic necessities now and then. And, quite often, as I chat with other "carless" friends, I imagine putting together a "transportation co-op", sharing a vehicle with others. Shopping is definitely more difficult relying on the FRTA.

    Like all technology, I think the automobile has it's place, but like all technology within a capitalist society, individual ownership seems to exacerbate all sorts of negative side effects. My dad said that his grand dad thought that the automobile would destroy civilization. He may have been right.

  3. A while ago the nuns at Sravasti Abbey, Newport were telling me about their unfulfilled wish of toiletries. They needed toothpastes, Kleenex, and deodorants. Do you have any to spare them?

  4. Abstract constructs, got it. Heh. Shows you how material products are at best fleeting. But also that they are amorphous in terms of utility. They can either greet you on the garage, or they can be a money burden. They can also be given and shared.

    Mario @ Miles Ahead Donations