Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Frugal and Carless

Karma has bitten me squarely in the ass. Last week a couple got their car stuck right outside my apartment. I heard their wheels spinning and spinning on the ice, but I did nothing to help them because I hate it when people park where they parked (on the street, almost in the cross street, blocking the sidewalk), and I thought it served them right to get stuck.

Fast-forward to four days later when my car got stuck in the unplowed parking lot at work. Normally, the lot is plowed, but with the recent deluge of snow we've had in the northeast, two of the sweepers that my work uses to clear lots and sidewalks have broken leaving just one for the entire campus. I think they've been struggling to keep the main roads clear and had neglected the rest. Regardless, I got stuck, a kindly student who had been at the grocery store buying his sick girlfriend chicken soup and medicine spent forty-five minutes digging and pushing out my car (seriously, what a great human being), but then my car started acting weird.

The power steering stopped working, possibly as a result of having my undercarriage knocked about by ice and shovels--or maybe it was ready to go anyway-- no idea how that works. So now, I am a girl with two jobs in two different towns, odd hours and a $600 repair bill looming just as soon as they get that part I need (Wednesday). That means I have to figure out how to get around Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, and do it hopefully without having to rent a car.

Easier said than done.

I live in a city with a public transit system, and thankfully, the bus goes directly to one of my jobs (college campus). Unfortunately, the bus stops running at 8pm and I'm not done with work until 10pm, and for the job I have to go to on Wednesday, I would have to take the bus to the airport, and then walk about two miles on roads with no sidewalk. I honestly do not understand how people with no car get by. I hate driving, I wish I didn't have to have a car. The year I worked in the same town where I live and could walk in every morning was fantastic--but most of the jobs I've had in this state were a 20 minute commute at least. If I didn't have a car, I wouldn't have been able to take either of the jobs I have, I'd probably still be unemployed--ridiculous.

So today, I will take the bus to campus around 1:30 because I have to teach a class at 2pm. Then I have the option of either taking the bus back home at 3 and taking it back for my regular shift at 6pm (my work is not usually this weird), or staying on campus like a hobo and holing up with a book somewhere.

It is so tempting to just rent a car, but an economy vehicle is approximately $44/day plus taxes, gas and surcharges. That works out to about the same as I'll make at work today.

It is amazing how much thinking and strategizing I've done in the past two days. Granted, if I was a regular bus-taker, this would likely be automatic, but right now, I'm completely overwhelmed, restless and frazzled.

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