When I was a little kid, I always thought that cars equalled freedom. On some level, I still believe that – there’s a certain sense of convenience that I can’t help but associate with feeling unburdened. Over the course of my adult life, though, I’ve gradually come to realise that freedom and convenience are not one and the same. In fact, convenience can sometimes curtail freedom, as I discovered last winter when my car wouldn’t start.
What I mean to say is that I realised I’d become overly reliant on the convenience of my nice car, and unable to move through the world without it. In a sense, I’d effectively reduced my freedom by attaching my ease and comfort in life to the functions of a material object. And I’d made that material object a car, of all things – one of the material objects most likely to conk out when you least expect it. Good choice, idiot.
There’s also all the costs involved in car ownership – they tend to diminish the impression of freedom, too. The open road is worthless if you’ve got a busted tyre or your brakes aren’t working. Sure, you can get it fixed, but you’re at the mercy of your mechanic for brake repair. Moorabbin area locals, you’re probably familiar with this old chestnut. It’s not that hard to get your car to a mechanic, but it’s also a big drain on the old time and money. It’s a burden, not a ticket to freedom.
Look, I’m not saying it’s not worth having a car. I’ve still got mine, and I love it. I just don’t associate it with freedom anymore, at least not by my former whimsical standards. Arguably, there is a certain freedom in being able to book car servicing and maintenance. Bentleigh mechanics are good for this, and I’m happy to use my hard-earned money to pay for their services – provided that it’s something I’m choosing to do, rather than an obligation I’ve bound myself into by necessity.