Something terrible happens to perfectly nice people when they are IN CONTROL of the car and you are a PASSIVE PASSENGER. PASSIVE and PASSENGER are equally contentious labels.
There are the usual problems which every non-car driver experiences.
- You have to leave when your lift decides to leave. You can't leave early because you are p....d off, or even later because you just met this incredibly dishy man. And that's fair enough. You can't expect your lift to inconvenience themselves, otherwise what's the point of a car?
- If you can't get a lift, and the buses finish before you leave your event, then you can't go. That's that.
- Whenever you travel by public transport, you arrive windswept and exhausted from whizzing over platform bridges or standing on the station in a wind tunnel. Or being rained on at the bus stop because the bus is running late. And the cold, the biting cold in winter, when the bus is nowhere to be seen and everything around is dark and miserable.
- Without wanting to be unkind to the unfortunate, it can be hard when someone very dirty and smelly sits next to you. I do understand this person has problems, but ... I am squeamish about stuff like that.
- You have to carry very heavy stuff, or else arrange for it to be delivered or buy online. This means you have a constantly aching back or feet. Or you have to use a shopping trolley which makes you feel 90 years old.
IT'S A LIFESTYLE
People tell me I don't need a car because I can get a taxi from time to time when I need one. But it's not a one-off. It's a whole lifestyle that is having to be adjusted to what is available in the area where I live. It was better in when I lived in Brighton as the buses go everywhere and run all night.
So taxis are out. If I used taxis every time I needed a car rather than a bus, I would be broke.
Then there are the occasional TERRIBLE EXPERIENCES a person can have when accepting lifts. It's not just me. Friends in the same position have also encountered similar problems. For example:
THE WORST PASSIVE PASSENGER EXPERIENCES
- When I first moved to Rustington, a woman I knew wanted to take me everywhere. I think her heart was in the right place in the beginning, but it became impossible. She was so intense and eager to please that I accepted even though I could, in some cases, easily have gone by bus. Then she would turn up 30 minutes early or even longer, and sit outside my apartment block blasting her horn and I was still in my underwear.
To cap it all, I'd believe we were going to the cinema, or maybe for a drink in the pub, but we'd have to spend an hour in the garden centre, or maybe the supermarket, first. There was plenty of time. She'd made sure of that. I hate going to the garden centre or the supermarket and trailing around with a trolley when I think I am going to see a film, and when I definitely don't want any shopping or plants. Generally speaking, I hate shopping. I only go when I run out of marmalade. But in someone else's car, you are done for. I made a big mistake. I got in her car and she was in control, the Boss Lady. It was soooo hard to extricate myself from this situation.
- "Don't worry, we will take you ALL THE WAY HOME. No, there's no need to drop you off halfway at a convenient bus stop." Okay, sounds fair enough. But I am in the back of the car. The front windows are wide open, to allow the smoke to drift out. But science is not that kind. The draught thundering through the windows channels that smoke straight back into the car, depriving me (floundering in the back) of oxygen and creating enough toxic fumes in my tiny bit of air space to practically choke me.
- When I was offered a lift to a regular event, the male driver in question was gallantry itself, until a couple of people made remarks about us arriving together. Sort of suggesting, by implication, we were an item. He was raging by the time he drove me home and ranted at me, as though it was my fault. Perhaps he thought I'd told people he was my man-friend, who knows? Some men are so arrogant. It's quite scary, having your driver in a state of, well not exactly road-rage, but something close. I told him the fact he had given me a lift did not mean I wanted to have his baby. Eventually, we made it up, and are now civil to each other. But that experience made me wary of accepting lifts from men unless I know them well.
- Then there was the intimidating woman-driver who took me to an event. I paid my share of the petrol so it should have been okay. But what an aggressive driver! She gave all the other drivers the finger, accelerated to within half a metre of the car in front, and then slammed on the brakes. At one point a car was trying to edge out of a difficult position onto the main road. She would not give way and missed hitting it by a heartbeat. At one point it passed us in the faster lane, and then she sat so close to its back bumper I was tensing up for the bang. She must have had her two fingers up in front of the windscreen for at least a mile.
INDEPENDENCE AT LAST
So that's why I need a car. It's about freedom, movement and independence.
I found a super one on the Internet, see photo and I'm going to look at it tomorrow. I've checked out the current values, and the insurance.
It seems perfect, so only something truly awful will stop me buying it.