About seven months ago my wife and I decided that we needed a new vehicle, so we bought a big hunking minivan. We purchased the car in anticipation of eventually having more kids as our current mini-minivan would not comfortably accommodate a third car seat. As it turns out our family is growing bigger sooner than we thought, so points to us for anticipating that outcome.
We didn’t trade in the old car, so we officially became a two car family. The most wonderful aspect of that transformation is that I finally rid myself of having to take Metro. For many of you outside of the DC Metropolitan area, Metro appears to be a wonderful transit system that takes riders from the outer suburbs all the way into DC. Those of us who live and work in the area know better. In reality, Metro is essentially a glorified public works program that has the added benefit of sometimes delivering other people to work . . . eventually.
I didn’t care about the cost of parking. It’s not much more than Metro, and I have the added bonus of halving my commute. In fact I estimate that driving lops off about 30 hours of commuting time per month – in another words, 1.25 days a month. That’s like half of my leave time per year. Now there are no doubt certain residents of this fine area who would be tremendously disappointed in my decision and would seek to put me in a re-education camp. These are mostly the same idiots I see biking in the middle of the street and who I have to risk head-on-collisions in order to pass on the road. Ah well.
What has life been like without Metro? Food tastes better. The air seems fresher. I have more energy and self confidence than I ever dreamed of.
Unfortunately cars are not perfect, and things like DVD players and sunscreens break, requiring a trip to the dealer, which in turn necessitates travelling to work by . . . Metro.
No big deal. It’s just one day, right?
Well, except when I pick up the van the rear window will not roll up. It seems that in fixing one problem, they neglected to complete the other job. It was now past 6, and so there were no rental cars for me. Which means . . .
Another day on the Metro. Okay. Just one more day. How bad can it be?
My alarm clock is set to the talk radio station, and it goes off at just the time they do traffic. And what’s the first thing I hear? Massive delays on the Red Line due to a crack on the third rail. So my reaction was a bit like this:
Fortunately for my sanity the single tracking stopped by the time I hopped on Metro. In fact I even got a call while on the Metro telling me that the car was ready (and this time it really was).
Yet that one extra Metro trip reminded me of why I now drive instead. Which is perhaps a useful enough reminder for the next time I’m stuck in traffic . . . in other words nine hours from now.