While waiting for my car to get fixed at the auto shop, my thoughts were of the “boy, cars are a real pain” type. Gasoline, insurance, washing, cleaning, routine maintenance, scheduled maintenance, and unexpected maintenance come with the territory. Let’s not forget the original price tag, inspections, registration, tags, and, if you live in Virginia, personal property tax once each year. Like I said, a real pain.
Of course, we could consider the alternatives. I live close to work, so walking would only take an hour each way. My church would be two hours. Hmmm… not so convenient. What about rollerblading or skateboarding? Both would be faster than walking. I used to do both fairly well! Let’s see, it’s been 15 years since I donned a pair of blades and 23 years since my foot touched a skateboard. Yeah, I see a hospital visit in my future. That won’t work.
Okay, how about biking? That should cut the time by about 75%. Imagine the wind in my face on a nice warm day… zooming along the side of the road, the cars whizzing past me at breakneck speeds. Hmmm… not as safe as I’d prefer. Not to mention, where do I put my golf clubs?
Okay, so it sounds like I need more room… and a motor. I used to ride a motorcycle back and forth to work? They’re inexpensive, gas efficient, and just plain cool. Well, that still doesn’t solve the space problem, and my wife would not ride on the back. Not to mention, showing up to work with dead bug carcasses on my clothes probably wouldn’t be very good.
Fine, I’ll use a car, but not my own! Think of the money I could save on insurance and maintenance if I just use someone else’s car! Of course, that’s not very convenient. Also, I’d probably use up all my favors in a week or two. My boss is real nice. Maybe she would just give me her BMW??? Not so much.
Taxis aren’t reliable enough, and my fares and tips could get quite expensive after a while. I can’t use the bus because the closest bus stop is across the street from work, and that would defeat the purpose.
I guess a decent used car is not a bad alternative. Considering the alternatives, it’s convenient, relatively safe, and economical (about $0.59/mile). I have a place to keep my golf clubs, and my wife can ride, too.
I took the long way around to get here, but my point is that when we are frustrated with something, like waiting in line at the grocery store… consider growing or hunting your own food. When complaining about having to go through several sites to research something on the internet… consider spending a day or more at the Library. When having to cut and paste two or three paragraphs out of or into a 10-page paper… consider retyping the whole thing on a manual typewriter (or rewriting it by hand).
The funny thing is that each generation is born into a world that is more convenient than the world in which their parents lived. Microwaves meals in fewer than five minutes; 1000+ channels on TiVo-enabled hi-def flat panel television, email, texting, and tweeting at your finger tips; and much, much more than our ancestors had.
So when you are frustrated, consider the alternative… it’s not that bad.