For the first time in my life, I don’t own a car. Got rid of it when smoke starting pouring out the back of it while driving on Interstate 5.
I had it towed to the nearest BMW dealership where I was told the fan belt had broke and scattered pieces all over the place. The estimated repair was about $3,000. Considering I had just spent $1,500 on it a few months earlier to get sensors replaced so the check engine light would go off (that light was always on, no matter what repairs were made to the car and everything is expensive on a BMW) so it would pass California’s smog inspection test, I was not in the mood to drop another 3K on her. I mean, what other repair could be there waiting to ambush my bank account?
So when the service department manager suggested I contact someone in sales who might take it off my hands, I jumped on it like a pole vaulter in the Summer Olympics. I toasted the sale a couple days later while I was having a Buffalo Milk on Catalina Island. And I haven’t looked back since.
Imagine life without a car – what freedom! I can get away with it because I live in San Diego, which has excellent public transportation, certainly when compared to other places I have lived, which includes Los Angeles and several Southern cities. I mean I can’t imagine not having a car in L.A., or anywhere in the South. In the South, houses are in subdivisions and come to think of it, I’ve never seen a light rail train or bus anywhere there.
Okay, there’s MARTA in Atlanta but nobody in Hot-lanta wants to “lower” themselves by riding on it. They seem to think it’s only for the poor. If they were seen hopping onto a train or stepping onto a bus it would be a traumatic experience, almost as if they were caught at a bar with another woman.
By the way, here’s a tip for you: Don’t buy a used BMW with more than 90,000 miles on it. If you own a new one, get rid of it at about 85,000 miles. Otherwise, the car will spend more time in the mechanic’s garage than in your own. I’m used to having Japanese cars, which seem to run forever. Having 250,000 miles on a Japanese car is not a headline. Get that kind of mileage out of a BMW and people would be accusing you of creating fake news. Most likely you would be on your third by that time.
I guess I should have seen it coming. The friend who sold me the car – a used sleek convertible 3 model that looked as if it just rolled off the showroom floor; the car that is, not the friend – hesitated for a second when I handed him the check and said, “okay, you realize if anything goes wrong with it…”
Let me say that the person is still my friend. He hosts me at his cabin in Lake Arrowhead, grills steaks for me, has bought me several beers through the years and even stood guard at massive house parties I threw – he’s 6-foot-7 and built like a grizzly bear – when I lived at the beach. In other words, I don’t think he was pulling a fast one on me like a guy who cheats at cards or is secretly spending time with your girlfriend.
No, he actually did me a favor without realizing it. I no longer have to worry about repair bills or car payments for that matter. Or gas (it’s $4.75 a gallon here) or insurance. Heck, my insurance agent was jealous when I called him to cancel my policy.
I also don’t have to worry about parking tickets, finding parking or any of the other annoyances of driving a car. I simply hop off the train, bus or whatever, almost always within a block or two of my destination. And if not, I just take Lyft or Uber right to the door or back to mine.
There’s also no worrying about having one too many at a restaurant, bar or event and then having a potential DUI hanging over my head. That’s the biggest thing, really, because PubClub.com is completely against drinking and driving. I also enjoy riding a bike and I can put it on public transportation without strapping it to a rack on the back of the vehicle.
Heck, I don’t even like the new cars today. I sometimes drive a Cadillac Escalade for a work client and rent a car on occasion if I need to be out of town on a tight schedule, and while the bells and whistles are nice the functionality is not. For one thing, all of today’s vehicles have blind spots. On both sides.
Manufacturers seem to think the solution to this is bigger mirrors. That’s like a baseball hitter who can’t hit the curveball always looking to get thrown the heater. He will strike out more often than he hits a home run.
Plus, vehicles today all look the same. I used to be able identify the make and model of a car from two blocks away but now I can’t tell a from a Honda from a Hyundai (this is particularly annoying when waiting on an Uber because all the vehicles look the same and don’t tell me I’m on an island here).
The new vehicles are also butt ugly. Those huge grills – particularly on trucks and the big SUVs – look like a large, open mouth. It’s nothing I would like to crawl inside of anyway. They are also up so high you can’t see anything less than 10 feet in front of you. Trying to get that Escalade into a tight parking space is like Charles Barkley trying to squeeze into an IndyCar. Parents are even having trouble seeing their kids playing in the driveway. This is such a problem that CBS News did a story on it.
But hey, I can plug my cellphone into the dashboard to listen to music and make calls. I am I cool or what!?
It’s cool as a passenger but I’ll just stick with public transportation when I can get it.