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Cars Cars Cars Cars

March 11, 2009   

Hamilton College is an interesting place because we’re in the middle of nowhere and there are cows next to us. This has significant benefits. The air is so clean I don’t have the allergies that plagued me in Atlanta. Furthermore, being somewhat bound to the campus fosters a pretty strong sense of community, because if you don’t get pulled into the life of the campus you have to content yourself with…cows. This has been a particularly severe lesson for me, as I’m 1000 miles from home, and I can’t just pack up and run home to mommy when the campus gets overwhelming.

I’ve stuck to this logic for two and half years and I’m glad, it’s good to be adaptable. One of the side effects has been the deferral of buying a car. What’s the point, if I’m not going anywhere? Well, although I may not be abandoning Hamilton for the weekend, there are some quality of life issues that arise from not having a car at this college.

One is what kind of stuff you can bring to college. While you can ship a buttload of stuff from Atlanta, there are some things that just can’t travel this way: expensive electronics, fragile instruments, and heavy furniture that there just aren’t big enough boxes for. I keep trying to pick up the guitar over breaks, but have to leave it behind when I come back to campus. By the time I go on break again I’ve forgotten everything. Oh well, at least I can mope about it, that’s kind of indie rock right?

There are also important maintenance tasks that you would do if you had your own car, but just don’t quite care enough to do if you have to bug one of your friends to drive you. Like haircuts. I love my hair, but it is structurally equivalent to the hair on a dog’s butt, which means if I don’t keep it short it kind of sticks in fifty directions and gets greasy and frightens small children. Unfortunately the closest barber is about a mile from campus, through six feet of snow, and your only available driver has fallen asleep playing Mario Kart. Yeah no haircut for eight weeks.

But I guess what I miss most of all is just being able to do something off campus, on a whim, like going to a nice restaurant or the movie theater, of which Hamilton actually has a decent selection within a ten-mile radius. For a long time I thought that that was an unacceptable luxury. After all, cars = global warming. But I realized that having a car would allow me to avoid all my stupid airline trips back to home, which have probably put more carbon in the atmosphere than 50 cars.

And it’s a stick shift. Vroom vroom!
Today’s Shout-Out! will go to my uncle Joe, a swindling Italian car dealer, when he finds me a sweet (and affordable) ride.