Carless: first thoughts

Been trying out the shape of things to come by taking the train to work. Storm Brendan didn’t help: the train arrived 15 minutes late and chugged reluctantly up the hill to a station two stops short of my destination. There it stopped, as apparently Brendan had knocked down fences and allowed livestock onto the line. Scotrail doesn’t do cows. I’m not sure I liked the tone of accustomed and world-weary resignation with which the guard apologised for our inconvenience. Sounded as though this may not have been the first time this has happened. I cadged a lift with a fellow passenger who had ordered a taxi and arrived only 25 minutes later than I should have done.

Monday 2nd March

So it’s been about 6 weeks without a car now. The way the weather’s been, the 25 minute walk uphill to our Saturday morning lesson at the Alliance Francaise has seemed like a major expedition, wrapped up to the eyeballs in water proofs and leaning forward into the teeth of the gale. We only gave up once and got an Uber back when it was slanting stair-rods and we hadn’t brought the full arctic kit. I feel if we can survive this kind of weather we are probably on course to keep going when it gets a bit less wild.

One thing you notice at work when you don’t have a car is that slack moments are created when you are waiting for a cab or a train, which don’t exist when you are heading for your car immediately you have finished a session. In these moments people come and talk to you. The other day I was waiting for a cab back from Stonehouse to East Kilbride and had a long conversation with someone I have known for years but never really talked to. I found out all about her daughter and her sporting interests, and learnt more in five minutes than I had known from years of acquaintance. If you don’t look hurried and harassed people will approach you. Which admittedly can be a mixed blessing if they want your opinion on their symptoms, but on balance it’s a good thing I reckon.

Friday 17th January. D-day.

Did the deal at and came away carless. Thanked my Merc for once sparking joy and moved on. Relearnt life lessons number one: the request bus stop. As I waited, still slightly shell-shocked at the loss of my little bit of moving leather-padded luxury, at the bus stop, I was glad to see my number 38 bus approaching. I stood, attentive and expectant, half smiling at the driver, as he steamed straight past me at full speed. The girl with the nose-rings standing waiting for the number 3 explained helpfully that you have to put your arm out to get the bus to stop. I am sure I knew that once.

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