Monday, January 14, 2013

No-Car Update: Webtaxi

Allow me to introduce you to my new best friend:
meet webtaxi.  photo: wikipedia
So let me be completely candid for a moment here.  Not having a car can be a real drag, and I think it's starting to wear on me.  Especially when the weather is bad and/or kids are sick or you're dragging around several instruments and/or kids in the rain and/or dark and/or freezing cold.  Sometimes, and perhaps more and more as of late, I wonder if we are putting ourselves through unnecessary hardship merely because we're too cheap to live like "normal" people do.  In essence, I wonder, "Wait a second--maybe we really are nuts?!?"

As such, these days I'm constantly checking in with Pete to see if it's wearing on him too (and in those moments really hoping that it is).  But, alas, it is not.  His response goes something like this:  "Look, I don't like cars.  I don't like buying them, owning them, maintaining them, repairing them, fueling them, and insuring them.  I don't even really like driving them.  The only thing I like about them is that they are convenient.  For me, that's just not a compelling reason to own one right now."  

And when he puts it like that, I actually completely agree with him.  Ergh.

However, another thing we've now agreed upon, after all our medical issues in December, is that we need to find, budget for, and occasionally use a reliable taxi service.  As long as we use it sparingly, it's still much more cost effective and makes more sense than a car and all its associated expenses and hassles at this point in our lives.  So, we agreed we should look into it.  And then, of course, we procrastinated until we actually needed one in a jiffy.  Because that's the way life goes, right?

Fortunately the situation was not an emergency--just a bonehead mistake made by Yours Truly.  The kids set off to a schoolmate's house around the block one Saturday afternoon for a birthday party, only to discover that the party was not there.  Their mother had neglected to read the invitation properly (which was in French, but that's really not an excuse).  Turns out the party was at a venue WAY outside the city.  We decided we couldn't let the kids down after a tough week, and that if we'd known how far it was, there was a chance we'd have hired a taxi to begin with if we couldn't arrange a carpool.  So we Googled and called, having previously spotted a couple of their little orange and white Priuses around town.  Pete called them up, they told us exactly how much our trip would cost over the phone (in English), and 5 minutes later a Prius showed up at our door.  Our kids weren't even the last ones to show up at the party!

Since then I've also used to take Daphne and I to our joint doctor appointment when we were both feeling horrible.  It was 10 Euros each way.  So easy, so fast, and completely worth every penny/Euro-cent.  I'm still comfortable relying on willing friends for the occasional ride, but in our situation, we really need a taxi service as part of our backup plan and to not feel guilty about using it (talking to myself here).  It's financially-sound and sanity-preseving.  Yay.

All this to say, I'm feeling much better about the no-car lifestyle than I did a few weeks ago.  There are really great, even precious and invaluable aspects to it (which I've highlighted before, but right now I'm especially appreciating the forced fresh air and exercise and that our kids are getting to be such good and tough little European walkers).  A car may indeed be in our future, but for now, the no-car lifestyle is looking up!

Even with projected sub-freezing temperatures this week!  (heh...hmm...)


Anonymous said...

Yay! Nana, Auntie Carol and Auntie Sue sometimes use taxis in England - so why not?

Anonymous said...

I like Pete's logic. Wish I could make it work here!

Maybe a horse I shall seek.


Car Decorations said...

Auntie Carol and Auntie Sue sometimes use taxis in England.Wish I could make it work here!