After three years of car-free bliss/nightmare, I am no longer sans car. As I will be moving to TheLimey's slightly removed home next month, I will have to actually drive to my academic and clinical duties instead of walking.
Pros of car-free: no car-buying; no insurance & maintenance etc.; someone else drives while you sit on the bus reading; no parking problems; a feeling of smug self-righteousness about pollution and roadkill; lower expectations of others about social life; less road rage (I don't say "no road rage" because I still become quite cross at careless drivers even as a pedestrian); smelling all the seasons; seeing many small things daily that simply are not visible from a car; no concern with running over squirrels; not having personal identity invested in what metal box you're currently occupying; fewer concerns about oil and its whimsical pricing.
Cons of car-free: bad public transport that goes almost nowhere on the weekends and stops early at night; smelly and/or intrusive fellow passengers; dragging six heavy bags of groceries home in a flimsy wheeled cart; people treat you like you're a teenager even if you're nearly forty; the months of February and March; broken capillaries on my cheeks each winter; nonstop asthma in cold weather; having to be ferried about by others or else left behind; always being at the mercy of when others want to go to and leave the party; not being able to go fetch UPS and FedEx packages that require a signature; not buying wine, birdseed, canned soup, or fresh vegetables because they're a pain in the behind to get home.
The "new" car is a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier sedan, which basically has all the opposite qualities from those I have assembled over the years as what I want in a vehicle. (Including its automatic transmission.) However, as it had extraordinarily low miles for its age and was a very low price, I really couldn't find a way to rationalize not buying it. Even though online reviews dubbed it the Big Mac of automobiles. Not so much for its size, which is pretty small, but for its bland popularity.
Its color is turquoise, or teal, or even dark aqua. I know that "tealmobile" sounds better phonetically, but I like "aquamobile" better, as it then sounds submersible.
The old (?) adage "Driving an automatic is like having someone else shift for you--poorly" does hold true, but I will simply have to rein in my impulses towards jackrabbit starts at red lights. While I seem able to drive an automatic okay for the most part, I still find myself occasionally hitting the brake by way of automatically seeking out the clutch. Especially in an emergency situation.
For example--just hypothetically speaking--if I were to need to turn around quickly in someone's driveway in order to go back and pluck, say, a small turtle off a hot country road, I might brake while trying to clutch.
The hypothetical turtle would then make small furious hissing sounds from the recesses of its shell when I picked it up off the road as SUVs whizzed past.