|Click here to see the full-size comic strip.|
I lived in Los Angeles for 14 years. That city is easily the driving capital of America. It was there that I came to hate driving. I loved it until I moved there. My first three cars were sports cars. I loved driving. But there was something so forced about driving in LA. I felt like Angelenos were like characters from that one episode of the classic STAR TREK where all of this one psychiatrist's subordinates insisted that they were happy in their work.
I had a conversation with a friend once that illustrates my complaint. It went like this:
her: Oh, I wish I had a car.
her: because of the freedom.
me: to do what?
her: to drive anywhere, when ever I want. Like I'd love to go get some furniture from Ikea right now, but I can't.
me: you know they deliver, right?
her: it's too expensive!
So, forget that the cost of a car infinitely outweighs the cost of Ikea delivery, here was this young woman in her twenties who wanted to commit to car loan payments, smog check fees, maintenance costs, parking costs, fuel costs, insurance payments, road rage, and an elevated stress level, in general, just for this "freedom" of mobility. To me, my peace of mind is MUCH more important to me than the ability to get up and drive somewhere when ever I want. Plus, I don't define freedom as being in debt, constantly having to pay the state, the mechanic, the gas station, and who ever helps me deal with stress. That sounds like the opposite of freedom to me.
You won't see car-related BALLPOINT ADVENTURES strips dated after 2008 or so because that's when my wife and I moved to New York City. I actually stopped driving a car several years before then, but did drive part of the way across country. However, since getting here, I have never been behind the wheel since--and I feel GREAT about it!! And being able to hop on mass transit and go almost anywhere I want to go in this city sure feels like freedom to me!