Seven Reasons Not to Own a Car

Seven Reasons Not to Own a Car

A Summer-Holiday Listicle, Straphanger-Style

// People often ask me: Grescoe, what do you have against automobiles, anyway? I sometimes tell them it all goes back to when, downwardly mobile after university, I worked as a delivery driver. Forty hours a week, I watched the world from behind glass, getting angry at shiftless pedestrians and unpredictable cyclists, a Travis Bickle in the making. At the end of the workday, I would unlock my bicycle, and become a quick-flip hypocrite, cursing cars and their exhaust all the way home. In six months of driving I was rear-ended twice; my shoulders ached, my belly spread, and the unspent adrenaline from day-to-day near misses turned my blood prematurely bilious. I quit after witnessing a bad—probably fatal—accident, on the highway, and vowed then that cars wouldn't be a part of my life. I've kept that vow for nearly forty years—I've never owned a car.

That said, I live in the real world. I've held on to my driver's license, and in a pinch, I'll rent a car, or use our city's car-sharing service. I know automobiles aren't going to disappear from the landscape any time soon, especially given the realities of residential settlement in North America.

But I can see a future where people rely on them less and less for our everyday needs. It's a future many people in Europe and Asia are already living in.

For this summer holiday-week edition of Straphanger, I present you with a listicle-style dispatch: Seven (Excellent) Reasons Not to Own a Car.

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