Saturday, September 8, 2012

Life Off the Road

As of today, my car has been in the repair shop (actually, two repair shops) for a month.

As of today, I have reached the limit of my 30-day car rental, covered by my insurance. They refuse to extend it past the contractual time period dictated by my policy, despite my repeated phone calls to multiple claims representatives and their managers.

I begged for mercy from my dealership's service center, which normally provides a free car rental during repairs. I tried to get a rental from them a month ago when I deposited my car there, but they told me to take the insurance rental instead. Now, after having repaired my car for two weeks, my time is up, and I am without a car.

The body shop refuses to cover a car rental, though they offered to call Enterprise and see if they could "work something out" for me. I can only imagine that would entail a discount off the $30/day rate which Allstate has covered for the last 30 days, but honestly, I could probably do better on Hotwire.

But without employment, I simply cannot justify the expense of even $12/day when I don't have a daily commute and no obligations compel me to drive. At this point, my travels are purely recreational. It's been so hard to justify the cost of gas, which has rocketed up to $4.20/gallon, that I've come to only fill the Toyota Camry's enormous tank halfway at any given time.

So, with no other recourse, and without unlimited funds, I've decided sacrifice the liberation of driving everywhere and try living in LA without a car. For a week. Maybe two. We'll see how long it takes to fix my car. We'll see how long I last.

For now, I'm taking it one day at a time. I've cancelled my Orange County adventure for the day. I can go some other time. I can walk five miles home from the car rental place. Though they probably could shuttle me home, I'm going to take advantage of being in the area and enjoy Culver City for the day. I could take public transportation today, but it's a straight shot home along a familiar way, and in the absence of a day hiking, I have chosen to hoof it along the city sidewalks, under the 10 Freeway, hydration pack on my back, pepper spray in hand.

I'm already feeling the separation anxiety, the onset of home-bound panic. There is a whole world out there waiting to be experienced and learned, but it will just have to wait a week. Or two.

I can always rent a car next week. I can always rent a car on Monday.

Anyway, I miss my car. This giant rental has been a poor replacement for it, and it has become an albatross that renders me constantly anxious behind the wheel, uncharacteristically driving under the speed limit, laboriously cranking the steering wheel to wind around corners, refusing to parallel park in any space smaller than a mack truck - and God forbid on a hill. Certainly I am still traumatized by the events which led to my wrecked car needing six weeks' worth of repairs, and driving an unfamiliar, unwieldy, burdensome boat has not helped calm my nerves. I worry about impacting everything around me. I worry about being hit.

Maybe I need to walk for a while.

Maybe friends will want to hang out with me and will be willing to come pick me up.

Maybe I have all I need within a five mile walking and a ten mile biking radius.

Maybe I should just stay in one place for a while.

We'll see how it goes...

Related Posts:
The Anxiety of Separation

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