KEYWORDS: car, well, cars, kilometre, transportation, public transportation

No Car?--Try Public Transport

David Berg

DFO 16059/83

1. CAN YOU IMAGINE, RIGHT AT A TIME LIKE THIS WHEN THEY KNOW THE EXPENSE & THE FINANCIAL PINCH, SOMEBODY ASKED ME TO BUY THEM A CAR FOR ABOUT $5000!—They said it was a great buy at $5000! Well I admit, considering the price of cars nowadays, new ones run $10, $15 or $25,000 & more‚ so $5000 sounds kind of cheap. But when you've been skimpin' & scrapin' & going over your checklist with a fine-tooth comb to see where you can save a dollar here & a dollar there in order to survive this present emergency, you wonder how anybody's got the nerve to ask you for a new car!—Ha! Well I said, "Why didn't they think about that before they picked out the house?" We've lived ten years abroad & only had a car one year out of the ten! And when we go out house-hunting we always think about public transportation because we know we don't have a car! You know spoiled Americans, they're so used to the luxury of having cars, they've had cars all the time, everywhere they go they've got cars, isn't that something? And we ourselves hardly ever have had any cars! I mean, the last time we had cars was in France when we had caravans‚ & that was only for about a year! Ha!

2. WELL, THEY SAID THEY'RE A WHOLE KILOMETRE FROM THE NEAREST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION & THEY WOULD HAVE TO WALK A WHOLE KILOMETRE! Of course Maria & I can walk three or four kilometres every day, but it's very difficult for those young people, you know, they're not as strong & they need to grow up & have to walk a whole kilometre, even if they take a taxi home with the groceries—that's quite a strain, huh?! Ahem!—And of course they said they have to walk down this road that's not even paved, can you imagine?—Because they can't walk on anything but pavement. Maybe they'd like gold pavement, I don't know. They said it's out in the country, & although there's a main road running right by their house between them & the beach, the only road with public transportation & taxis & buses is a whole kilometre away, & it just wouldn't be good to have to walk that kilometre in the rain or the wet or at night. I said, "For God's sake, they don't have to walk it at night, they ought to be comin' home before night, & they can catch a taxi from town if they're in town piled up with groceries—they ought to be able to get a taxi home." Besides, they ought to do better planning than that & get themselves home before dark, that's what we try to do, don't you?

3. I'M TELLIN' YA, HOW COULD PEOPLE HAVE THE NERVE TO ASK AT A TIME LIKE THIS FOR A $5000 CAR? Well, after Peter suggested that they should try to do without, they came back with another long distance phone message halfway around the World at a big high price, "Well, can we at least have a motor scooter or a motorcycle?" Ha! Those Americans don't know how to walk! Can you imagine? Dirt road, so what!! Maria & I went & took a walk on a dirt road every day, three or four kilometres while we were out there on the farm, what's the matter with that?—Even when it was raining!—Walked in the mud, hoppin' mud puddles—what the hell's wrong with them? I'm tellin' ya‚ I'm boilin' over about this thing!

4. CAN YOU IMAGINE‚ GRIPIN' ABOUT HAVING TO WALK ONE KILOMETRE!—That's only ... oh my goodness, I can hardly do the subject justice. I mean, do you know how long a mile is? It's supposed to be about 10-12 blocks, so a kilometre is only about six blocks, six blocks!—Six or seven at the most! And they can't walk a kilometre to where they can catch a bus or a taxi! They said it would cost too much to phone town to get a taxi to come out & pick them up. Well, in an emergency that would cost a hell of a lot less than a $5000 car!

5. NOW IF ANYBODY HAD CARS IT SEEMS LIKE WE OUGHTTA HAVE'M, but we have thought about it many a time, & after our experience in France‚ I'm more convinced than ever that abroad we're better off without cars, really! I mean‚ even out on the farm we never were too far from public transportation! If we already hadn't had the cars‚ we probably wouldn't even have needed one there! I mean, we were out there near the little road of the bus, & the other way only about two kilometres I think it was, two or three—we measured sometimes walking it—from the main big highway where they had buses every few minutes! So I don't know why the hell they can't walk one kilometre, can you imagine that? They say, well they can't do it in the wet & it's dangerous in the dark & blah blah! Well, we do it all the time‚ don't we! Why the hell can't they walk one kilometre! Can you imagine!

6. YOU KNOW WHAT MARIA & I USED TO DO? WE USED TO TAKE OUR LITTLE SHOPPING CART ON THE BUS WITH US, go downtown, do our shopping & I'd haul that thing around! I even hauled a TV set home in it once, believe it or not, heavy as lead!—Pulled it on a crowded bus & carted it up the aisle & held it between my knees, loaded with a television set & all of our groceries! My Lord, what the hell is wrong with these Americans? They can't walk, they can't carry! I mean, they'd even get "Get–Out" credit for it! It must show that they haven't been doing any exercise or getting any! They're just so used to cars‚ they just don't know what to do without a car! I just don't know what the hell is wrong with people if they don't know how to walk!—Can't even walk one kilometre! Good night, we've walked kilometres in the rain & the dark, though I don't like to, sometimes we had to!

7. EVERY PLACE WE EVER LIVED WE HAD THAT IN MIND—EVEN IF WE HAD A CAR—THAT WE ALSO NEEDED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!—Even on the farm we never were too far from public transportation! Never! There were regular buses down that road every day & we could even catch a school bus! Ha! So I just can't understand these people! We've been ten years without a car—well, nine of them—but they can't do without a car! And right here in the middle of this financial crunch they want us to buy them a $5000 car, can you imagine! God help us!

8. I SAID, "WHY THE HELL DID THEY EVER GET A HOUSE THAT'S SO ISOLATED!" They knew before they got the house they didn't have a car. I guess they just figured we were going to give them the usual luxury & buy'm another car. Well, I never bought'm a car before & I'm not going to buy'm one now! If they want to get a couple of bicycles, that's up to them! Well, some of these folks have still got pretty high-falootin' ideas about American luxury. As in the old saying, the only exercise Americans get is climbin' in & out of their cars!—And pushing their grocery cart at the super market!

9. WELL, I'M AFRAID THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT SOME WAY TO DO IT NOW, they're stuck with their property. It's only rented, but I suppose it's contracted. Of course I never ever supposed they would be foolish enough to think about gettin' a house where they couldn't get any public transportation, knowing they wouldn't have a car! They had to leave their last car. You can't import cars back & forth in those countries, they charge you 100% duty! I had that sad experience one time in the Bahamas. I sent a car over there to this missionary & the ol' Ford was only worth $400, & that's exactly what customs decided it was worth! So they charged him $400 duty if he stayed over the limit of a tourist, six months‚ you know. In fact, the governor came down & looked at it himself & he liked it, a nice shiny new Model-A Ford, almost new‚ & so he decided that he was going to charge them what it was worth, $400 duty, knowing that they couldn't pay it, so he got the car! Ha ha! And that's about what they do sometimes.

10. AND BESIDES THAT, DRIVING IS DANGEROUS IN THESE COUNTRIES! It's even dangerous to own a car, much less drive it! It's not good security! And if you make some minor traffic violation, they put you in jail & hold you for ransom for the most ridiculous little things—like in Latin American countries & Mexico, anyplace like that—until your relations come down & bail you out for ransom! That's how they make their money!

11. WELL IT'S NEVER TOO EASY TO HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING A DRIVER & HAVING YOUR OWN CAR, & you've always got a chance of liability. Can you imagine what insurance must cost here? I wonder if they even have any automobile insurance? I don't see how they could have! Thank God we don't have to drive! Thank God we don't have to worry about liability insurance, car insurance & all the rest of it! Besides, then they've always got a tab on you when you're driving around in a car. You have to get license plates‚ you have to go through all that red tape to get one & own one. Imagine a tourist buying a car! What are they doing buying a car anyhow? I mean it's ridiculous! We've gone ten years—or at least nine out of the ten years—without a car!—And the only reason we bought cars then was because we were going mobile, remember?—Which we did, & it worked fine for awhile, but I was glad when we finally got rid of'm! I'll admit it was nice & convenient & a nice luxury when we had our nice little car & camper that I could just climb in & drive whenever I wanted to & anywhere I wanted to, but I count it a luxury! And the only reason I did was because we had it! But as soon as we had to go, we had to dump it anyhow!

12. THEY WANTED $5000 TO BUY A CAR! Well, they said $4500, but by the time you pay all the fees & licenses‚ insurance & all kinds of other stuff, why you can bet your bottom boots that it's going to be $5000! I guess they're going to think I'm an awful skin–flint or a real Shylock!—That guy that wanted a pound of flesh in Shakespeare! Wasn't he the guy who wanted the pound of flesh in "The Merchant of Venice"?—Shylock! The nobleman borrowed money from him—he was one of those people, by the way, the guy of course who had the money to loan‚ he was one of the anti-Christs—& the poor noble didn't have any collateral, nothing to base the loan on & nothing Shylock could collect in case he couldn't pay. So he said, "I'll tell you what, I'll loan it to you on the condition that if you can't pay it, I get a pound of your flesh!" He figured that that was pretty good insurance that the guy would sure pay up somehow. But when the guy finally couldn't repay, dear Shylock took him to court & demanded of the judge that, "Here's the agreement, signed, he should give me a pound of flesh. He couldn't pay, so I want my pound of flesh!"

13. SO THEY MAKE ME LOOK & FEEL LIKE A REAL TIGHT-WAD FOR NOT LETTIN'M HAVE THAT DEAR CAR that they just must have & without which they have no transportation, they might have to even walk a whole kilometre!—And I guess they're gonna think I'm cruel for denying it‚ but I'm denying it! You know, when they're used to havin' one‚ they just don't know how to get along without it! Well, I feel like the missionary that said to the visitor, "Listen, now if you need anything just let me know, & I'll tell you how to do without it!"—That's what I'm doing! So, I guess I'm really cruel, huh?—A tight man to deal with! But when people want luxuries that we can't even afford, I have to put my foot down.

14. BUT I'M TELLING YOU, I DON'T KNOW WHY IN THE THUNDER THEY EVER GOT THEMSELVES A HOUSE WAY OUT IN THE BOONIES WHERE THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION when they knew they didn't have a car! I guess they just assumed of course that we would buy'm a car. Well, I'm sorry, that's enough of that‚ but anyhow‚ that's a little talk I think some of the rest of the folks could profit by!—Especially some of those Americans that are going down South & think they've got to have a car with them everywhere they go. They're going to have to learn how to start walking for a change, catchin' buses & taxis like we do, right?

15. WELL, THEY'RE GOOD FOLKS & THEY'RE DOING THEIR JOBS FAITHFULLY & I GUESS I DON'T WANT TO MAKE THEM FEEL TOO BAD either, so maybe it's better I'm telling you instead of them. Ha! Maybe we better scrap this talk! I always feel sorry afterwards when I bawl people out, but they need it. After all I've said about it, surely you'd think they'd know better by this time. But apparently they still don't like walking. They think they've got to have private transportation. If they don't have wheels, they can't move!

16. WELL, I'LL ADMIT IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE INCONVENIENT, AS WE KNOW ONLY TOO WELL, especially if they went & got themselves a house way out in the boonies where there's no public transportation‚ that's their fault‚ not ours! They should have picked something more convenient. I mean, we've never failed to find some place that was near public transportation, no matter what kind of house we needed. So I don't know what in the World they were thinking about. I guess they just never even thought about that, because they're not used to it, so they just went ahead & thought, "That's a great place‚ way out here & it's got everything we need, cheap, a pool, got everything, right across from the ocean & blah blah," & they never even thought about having to live out there without a car! Well, now they're going to find out what it's like!

17. I'M SORRY FOR THEM, BUT I'M NOT THAT SORRY! I'm not going to take $5000 right now that we desperately need for urgent things to buy them a car. They may have to learn how to hitchhike. I'm really sorry‚ but that's tough, & they should have thought about that before they took the house, right? They said they just had to have it in order to go shopping, you know, they couldn't carry all those heavy loads of groceries & whatnot on that little dirt road, a whole kilometre! I'll tell you what I may do: I really feel sorry for'm, so I'm going to buy'm a shopping cart that they can pull the groceries home in & load on to the bus, get off the bus with, just like I did in London, & teach'm how to use a shopping cart! I don't know whether they even know what a shopping cart is, do you suppose? Well, maybe it's time you all learned!—Amen? GBAKY free!—Of cars!—Sad Dad.