Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
This is easy.
Sure, I could say my iPhone, because I love it and I can’t imagine how I lived a complete life without it before September (I kid, I kid. Sorta. Ok, I’m not kidding.) But for me, really, it’s a car.
I’m a born and bred Southern California girl. And if you know anything about Southern Cal, it’s not only not walking-friendly, but it’s certainly not public transit friendly either. I was well into my 30’s the first time I rode a bus that wasn’t emblazoned with the word “school” on the side and wasn’t headed to a band competition. (Oy, did I just write “well into my 30’s” about something that happened in the past? Sigh.)
Part of it is a personality issue. I’m a control freak, and I don’t like feeling like I can’t leave wherever I am of my own accord. Whenever I go out with friends, I volunteer to be the driver. I don’t like being at work and wondering how I would get home if one of the kids got sick or I needed to leave. I don’t like spending large chunks of time on my commute. I want to leave where I am at, be it work, the doctor’s office, shopping, whatever, and get home the quickest way possible.
About 2 years ago, I started taking the train to work. We were a one-income family at the time and I was working somewhere close to public transit and we were living less than a mile from a light rail stop. We had two cars, but the expense of spending $100 a month to park at my office downtown plus the gas expense was significantly more than the subsidized transit passes for State employees.
I got up every morning to catch the train. Sometimes I was lucky enough to end up riding with my friend. Most days I ended up standing and reading. If the weather was good, I got off the train about 6 blocks from work and walked. If it was raining, or cold, or I was simply being lazy, I would get off the train two stops earlier and catch a bus that dropped right at my office. The way home required a 2 block walk to the bus, or if the weather was nice, a 6 block walk to the train.
I got a lot of reading done. Which was awesome. I think I read more on the train during that year than I had in the previous 3 years in total. But every day was a battle of my anxiety over “what if I have to leave?” “What if I want to run an errand after work?” “What if the cafeteria I can walk to doesn’t have anything I want to eat today?” “What if I miss the train and I have to wait a whole other 30 minutes for the next one?” “What if someone decides to board the train with a gun and I’m caught in some sort of hostage situation?”
Ok, yeah, I never worried about that last one.
Because I started driving my car again.