Christmas tree is up, finally. It turned into a rather dramatic affair, as do most otherwise mundane outings, now that we have to utilize a car sharing service for running errands. When we still owned a car, the when and where and how long of going places and getting things done was completely within our control and at our discretion. We didn’t hurry unless we were actually in a rush.
Now that we pay by the hour to use a car, we are always in a rush.
Hourly car sharing is a frustrating see-saw of signing up for too much time or too little. If you are conservative with your estimate you waste money paying for hours you don’t use; if you arrange for too little time, you end up pulling over on the side of the road frantically trying to extend your reservation to avoid being slapped with outrageous fees.
We allotted an hour and a half to stop at the grocery store for mayo, Best Buy to pick up a pre-ordered phone, and Home Depot to grab a Douglas fir. In retrospect this was beyond optimistic – it was bordering on delusional.
In a perfect world, this would have taken us no more than the 90 minutes we planned on. In a perfect world, the phone would have been ready and waiting at Best Buy instead of lost somewhere in inventory. In a perfect world, Home Depot employees would have shown just a little bit of hustle on the job. In a perfect world, the Russian lover would be able to truss a tree to the roof of an SUV in three minutes without needing to have a ten minute quarrel with me about how my help wasn’t helping. In a perfect world, at least some of the traffic lights on the way home would have been green.
When you are loaning a car at an hourly rate, the bumps in the road reach into your pocket. Inconveniences – long lines, slow staff, snarled traffic – are not just annoyances stealing your time; they can become robbers taking your money. And you can’t plan for all the obstacles – you can only go as fast as possible. Now that we’re car sharing, every grocery trip turns into Supermarket Sweep and every drive feels like a game of Grand Theft Auto. Running errands involves actual running.
In the end, we’re kind of maybe saving a little bit of money by car sharing instead of car owning. It has also introduced more efficiency and more panic into our efforts as the sheer adrenaline of trying to beat the clock with every shopping trip gives new purpose to those routine outings. I won’t go so far as to call it fun…but it certainly is engaging.