week without a car: days two and three

Good morning Chicago! #rivernorth

This is becoming an old hat for me, ladies and gentlemen. I’m leaving the house later and later now that I see how quickly the bus shoots down Chicago Ave and deposits me into River North each morning for work. There have been a few snags here and there but I give days one through three without a car an A-.

Snag #1: I should have gotten a weekly pass. They’re a steal at $23, and with a single bus ride going for $2.25, seven days of just two rides is about $32. I’ve been using quarters all this time and purchasing the pass with only four or five days to go is a waste of money. I wish I had gotten the pass on day one. Monthly passes are $86, or around $2.75 every day, and if I continue to ride the bus and the el when this is done and I have access to a car again, I will definitely be picking one up.

Snag #2: Planning my errands isn’t as easy as it was before. On Wednesday I needed to stop and get a twelve-pack after work; some lady friends were stopping by the apartment and I was all out. I hopped off at my regular stop thinking I’d just walk four or five blocks out of my way, to the corner store I normally patronize, and pick one up. I had second thoughts after deboarding, and as I stood on the corner I instead pulled out my phone and Google mapped Current Location to Liquor Store. A small packaged goods store just minutes away from where I was standing popped up. It was only a two block detour on the way home. I headed in that direction. Packaged good stores are odd, and I’ve only seen them in Chicago. Not just a liquor store, and not just a bar, they’re a hybrid of both that usually only take cash. I walked into Ola’s, I think it was called, and saw that it was more of a bar than anything, with two smallish coolers for beer and a selection of bottles behind the counter where a woman sat alone polishing glassware. One look at the prices and I turned right back around. $22 for a case of Pilsner Urquell, which goes for around $13 or $14 at most places.

My fault for not just going for what I knew. Back to my regular store I walked, adding four more blocks to the initial five block trip. That was my exercise for the day. First world problems, huh?

Since I’ve only used public transportation on my way to and from work, and have only needed to hop on one city bus to get there, I’m eager to see how I fare over the weekend and looking forward to spending more time in my own neighborhood and utilizing all that it has to offer. Chicago is a huge city but it so often feels like a small town when you break it down by neighborhood. Mine has everything I need within walking distance: grocery stores, restaurants, boutiques, bars, cafes, libraries, parks, farmer’s markets, theatres. There’s even a festival just a five minute stroll up the street going on this weekend, and of course I have my digital photography workshop with Learnapalooza later on this morning.

I don’t really need to leave my ‘hood at all. Everything I need is right here. Don’t ya love city living?

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Week Without A Car: Day One

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4 responses to “week without a car: days two and three

  1. Yup, it’s a great neighborhood where you can walk to most places and hop on a bus that takes you pretty close to work. I would imagine cars probably cost about $5,000 per year to operate, when you figure buying them, fixing them, gassing them, insuring them, maybe less. I wonder how much a year of bus rides cost? And then you have to figure the health benefit from the walking and the social benefit from experiencing the city close up. 🙂

  2. Hello, May.
    I have been reading for a while but today you pushed me into commenting with the “first world problems, huh?”
    I am not in the first world, am by no means rich in the third world and this is exactly the kind of problem I have. 😉 So, no, by no means.
    I also live in a big city and have no car and planning my errands is one of the hardest things to learn without a car. Forgetting to get my cart and going a little crazy in the supermarket – buying a few extra litters of anything is a little crazy when you have to carry your shopping in your hands, trust me – was the hardest lesson to learn. I have been eyeing cargo bikes these days. There is a few places that sell better groceries cheaper in a range of 3km. I have done it on foot with the cart, but it is a 3 hours trip and the return is hard. A bike would definitively help, but they are a little big to keep in a small apartment.
    Anyway, good luck with your third wold problems. 😉

    I began reading your blog for the home projects, but have grown to like your approach to life, to appreciate what I glean of your heritage and to think you are a solid decent person. I read your post on thrifiting jeans pieces that you made a joke about canadian tuxedos when my brother was visiting. He was wearing a canadian tux, that day… Jeans and a jean jacket – we had so much fun looking at pictures of, aham, such classy ensembles online.

    • Hi Leticia! I’m so glad you commented. I remarked on “first world problems” meaning that if all I have to complain about with regard to not having a car is expensive beer and an extra four blocks, than I don’t have much to complain about at all! 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed not driving so far.

      I also ran into the too-many-things conundrum yesterday afternoon. By the time I made it home from errands laden down with bags, my legs and arms were on fire; better to keep in perspective how much I can carry comfortably. A bike would be great for me as well, but I am terrified of the way people in this city drive with respect to bikers– and to be honest, terrified of other bikers speeding along!

      Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad you enjoy reading, and appreciate it. 🙂 I wore a jean skirt and the same denim top yesterday, another version of my Canadian tuxedo. Very classy!

  3. Riding a bike over here is dangerous too, to say the least. We have very heavy traffic and little in the way of respect for pedestrians, nevermind cyclists. Since I just plan on using it once a month at most for longer trips, I should be fine, if I can find the space in my apartment.

    Having a shopping cart to take to the supermarket helps a lot. I don’t know the models you guys have over there. Over here I use the traditional “brazilian granny style” (http://www.casasaopedroboituva.com.br/product_images/s/061/carrinho_feiras__91940_zoom.jpg). It used to get me weird looks – the traditional use is for outdoors markets only – but nowadays it has become the “in thing to do” and there are a plethora of new, more fashionable, models.

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