In the fall of 2019, I had car issues that I decided not to spend the money to fix. For an 18-year-old Honda Civic with 170,000+ miles on it, I had paid between $700 and $1,200 per year to fix things that had broken/needed repair.
So I used the metro (commuter train), bus, and walking to get around the DC area. Being that I lived in a large metropolitan city, I figured it should be fairly easy to do.
Going Places Using Public Transportation
I even managed to attend NOVA Code and Coffee events, which is between 12 and 15 miles from my house without a car. It meant walking to the metro (commuter train). Then take a blue line train. Transfer to an orange line train at Roslyn until the second last stop. There I could either walk the mile to the venue or if I timed it right, grab a bus that got me within two or three blocks.
The nice thing about this event was there were many great places to grab lunch afterward with other attendees.
Another bonus of the event was an H Mart (Korean/international) grocery store was near there. So I could grab a few things that would fit in my backpack with my laptop, charger, etc., that I couldn’t get at my local stores.
Before the pandemic, on Friday nights, I would make sure to bring my laptop to work. So I could go directly to one coffee shop and catch up on e-mail and listen to live music. Afterward, I would go to another coffee shop that stayed open later to do more if I felt like it.
Every other Saturday, I would walk a half-mile to the Alexandria Code and Coffee event to hang out and work on my side project. Then take the bus a few blocks away from M. E. Swing Coffee Roasters to do some more work or e-mail/newsletters, etc. Between 2:30 PM and 2:40 PM, I would head out to take the 10B bus from Del Ray to Arlington to grab a late lunch.
Then walk a mile to Norhtsdie Social for a bit more work. Then down to Three Whistles for live music and a bit more work. There typically was a bunch of Twitter reading and other distractions during all this.
Finally, close to midnight, I would catch two trains to get home. So spent the whole day either walking, taking a bus or train on days like this.
Getting Around Before the Pandemic
So before the pandemic, I managed to get around by foot, bus, or metro.
Okay, there were two weekends where I rented a car. About three months apart to do some large grocery shopping. At places like Wegmans, Sam’s Club, etc., to stock up on more bulk items like toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, etc.
My sister made fun of me for having a 30 part of toilet paper and some other rolls at one point when she visited. I felt good when I still have close to 25 rolls left when everyone else was attempting to buy some at the pandemic’s start.
Plus, I would go on the two Sundays to a buddy’s place who lived in the country and raised pigs on the side. To get out to the city for a bit and get some fresh air.
Finally, Got Rid of the Car
After not being able to use the car, I sold my car to a friend’s friend in late August. Because they thought it would be cheaper to fix mine than theirs. Now I need to find out if that was the case.
I checked. It seems it cost more than I would have wanted to spend, and that didn’t include my friend’s labor. I probably would have bought an eight or ten-year-old car for about the same price.
Getting to go out in the country is the one thing I miss without having a car.
Since the pandemic, I have not been more than I think a mile and a half or a little more from my house.
I don’t want to get on the metro, bus, etc., at this point.