Car-less and Care-free? Maybe

I Have a confession to make. I’ve always harbored a scorn, deeply concealed of course for non drivers. You know the type, women (and some men) who used to drive before their aliya but are afraid to hit the treacherous roads of the Holy Land or those hopelessly flighty souls who could never get it together to transfer over their licenses.

Driving is for me a much cherished and hard won skill. Having grown up in Manhattan, which  is probably the one of the two or three places in all of North American within which car ownership is actually a disability, I was terrified to drive.  But fears are meant to be overcome so it was with great excitement and an undercurrent of terror that I took and passed my  my road test at age 41 seven months pregnant with my youngest child..

Since then. I’ve been a driver. No busses no taxis. I take myself and lots of other passengers everywhere in my own automobile. But now it’s  been over a week since my car died in the middle of Rehov Agrippas, causing a minor traffic snarl up but no harm to humans or property or even, quite miraculously, an exchange of harsh words. As a  not so young woman with two children in tow, I was perfectly cast as a damsel in distress.

Now car is in the garage, and for the first time in 11 years I’m car-less.

I don’t like having to walk when I’m pooped and achy, especially when the walking involves shlepping of parcels, As much as it has improved in the decade plus since I’ve stopped using it, public transporation busses remain over crowded and delayed.

And yet this car-less  week has brought its share of gifts. Here’s a short list..

1. I cut stress.  I haven’t had to hunt down a single parking space, change lanes in heavy traffic, or find myself in the middle of an intersection after the light has turned red. That is almost as calming as a yoga retreat.

2. I saved money. Even with using taxis, my pocketbook came out ahead given the nosebleed region into which gasoline prices have rocketed

4.I got exercise. I burned lots of calories walking to places I used to drive to.

5. I avoided taking my kids to the mall.  Having no wheels was a virtually airtight argument proof excuse..

6. And best of all I got to . be a tourist in my own town. The epic challenge of locating suitable and legal  parking quaffs my wanderlust but his week my feet have trod on locations I’d only previously seen through my windscreen. What joy!

Yet this morning when the mechanic said my car was fixed, my heart sang, not a long ballad, but a few short bars. Even as I sometimes hate driving, I’m not ready to relinquish my car. But now that I’ve glimpsed  the othe side I must proffer my apology to those non drivers. No I’m not ready to join them but I’ll concede this–their way of getting around isn’t so bad..





About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author, writing teacher and food blogger. She has several sons who study in yeshivot. Her husband is an IDF veteran who served in Gaza during the first intifada..