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AFTER many years of being a one-car family we’re planning to expand our fleet.
It’s a big decision, but the day has come when the logistics of family life have overwhelmed our “old reliable”, an elderly “small people mover” that many friends regard as worthy of an auto museum.
It’s been about 18 years since my husband and I decided to live without two cars. Financially it made sense – we were both working in the same building and we saved petrol, registration, insurance etcetera.
There were just the two of us, then number one child came along, then number two, but that didn’t change things much.
We traded in our tiny, economical sedan for a still economical “small people mover” and kept going with one vehicle. With the two kids at the same childcare centre, then the same schools and later pursuing the same sporting interests, it all remained manageable.
Aside from the savings, there were the benefits of feeling virtuous doing our bit for the environment, a sentiment that grew as we watched the unfolding automotive arms race of recent years in which everyone seems to have acquired ever larger 4WDs.
With one car, we’ve been in the habit of travelling together and that’s meant more time to talk as we zig-zag across town. As the years have gone by the old car has become a “second home”, we listen to each other’s favourite music, play intensely competitive rounds of “green-car spotto” and mull over the day’s dramas.
The old car is a place full of memories but, sadly, “old reliable” has been starting to miss a few beats. At the same time, family life has become much more logistically challenging. We now have one child in school on the southside, the other is on the northside, while my spouse and I work some distance from both. So we have a challenging double drop off each morning, and pick up complications in the afternoons.
Sporting logistics have also become complicated, including the prospect of long drives to interstate competitions and championships.
So, we’re in the market for a new car and most days I’m besieged by salespeople calling me about their latest special deal and various offers to “sweeten the pot”.
“Old reliable” is to be retired to less onerous duties as a local runabout – chugging between home, the nearer school and shops.
After 18 years we’ll be back to being a two-car family and mornings will see one parent and child head in one direction, and the other parent and another child head off in another.
Life moves on, and that’s good, but what I will miss a bit are all the times all of us have been crammed into “old faithful”, chatting away and singing along with the radio. That’s been the best thing with a one-car family.