A Car Free Milestone

I realized recently that I have inadvertently reached a milestone in my passive ongoing quest for automobile independence.

As a result of merging households with my GF, I now live just 1.6 miles from work, as does my GF, who just got a job in the same building as me. This distance is walkable or bikable in all but the most inclement weather, and even when said weather forces me to drive my car to work, it is only 1.6 miles on low trafficked, residential roads. No more suffering heinous Madison WI commuter traffic (some of the worst drivers I have ever encountered, and I have lived in some highly trafficked places, like Chicago) and gridlock.

I didn't purposefully try to become this automobile independent, but I think it is a result of the power of positive thinking, having a vision for this for a long time and then letting my subconscious mind work in mysterious ways to achieve it behind the scenes.

I still have to drive sometimes, like when I have music practices and gigs elsewhere, but this is something infrastructural that would be so no matter where I lived. One down side of merging households is that I am losing the alternative music venue space (house concerts) in my house that I am selling. I had a nice and spacious finished basement for full band house concert shows. My GF's house is not as conducive to house concerts, although I determined yesterday that small, solo acoustic performances would work in one location. This sacrifice is a small price to pay, me thinks, to avoid the misery and torment I feel when driving during busy times in Madison.

Most of my musical endeavors take place after busy times, usually later evenings and on weekends, so I don't usually experience driving angst in my music pursuits. I have had to can a few musical projects that had too much angsty driving in relation to the return on investment. I won't drive far for band practices or low paying gigs. Those need to stay local. I'll drive farther for prestigious or high paying gigs, on a case by case basis.

Last night I played a solo acoustic happy hour gig and had to drive across town during a busy time to get there. But I had given myself ample time to get there and wasn't in any rush. After the gig, the roads were bereft of the most egregious drivers and my drive home from the gig was a breeze.

The next milestone for moving closer to car freedom would be to merge cars with my GF, virtually halving our gas, maintenance, and insurance costs. This seems ridiculously unobtainable right now because we are diametrically opposed on our car tastes. Her Audi is sporty and cool and powerful, but lacks practical utility for hauling music gear. My Prius is not cool and gives her back aches, but it is pragmatic for a working musician and gets great gas mileage. We also sometimes need two cars, though I think we could work around those contingencies with a little brain power. My GF and I are both highly creative and smart.

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