The environmentalist in me does not want to share this news. But…I bought a car this week, and it has brought me unexpected bliss.

For years, I have prided myself on the fact that I pretty much get around everywhere by walking, bicycling, public transit, and the occasional use of Lyft. I live in one of the most walkable corridors of one of the most walkable cities in the country. The weather is temperate here, and I work from home most days. So getting outdoors on foot and interacting with the world outside my doorstep is not only recommended, it’s part of how I maintain (some semblance of) sanity each day.

My husband and I own a large 4-door, Nissan Frontier pick-up truck, but he uses it almost exclusively for his metal fabrication and design business. It’s a bit of a gas guzzler, as most trucks are. And did I mention, large? Not exactly ideal for finding parking on that quick trip into San Francisco or making a zippy get-a-way to wine country.

So, when aforementioned husband spotted this little beauty parked next to an auto mechanic’s shop in Berkeley at a steal of a price, we figured we should jump on it. I took her for a test drive (yes, she is a she, I have confirmed) and…*bliss*. I mean, I’m not supposed to enjoy this little fossil-fuel slurping machine so much. It’s just wrong! But I happened to test drive this gal on a sunshiney President’s Day holiday when the skies were cloudless and pristine blue for the first time in weeks. I switched on KCSM jazz on the radio, rolled down the windows, drove up into the Berkeley hills, and I was sold. A wave of freedom pulsated through my body. I could now have the means to zip over to Redwood Regional Park for a quick mid-day hike during the work week, or cruise over to the edge of the continent and breathe in the salty air of the Pacific anytime I wanted. Freedom. It was so tangible, I could taste it.

Truth be told, I would have much preferred the all-electric version of this same vehicle. But sadly, unless we wanted to slam down the money for a Tesla, most all-electric vehicles these days won’t go the distance we figured we’d need from time to time. And a hybrid vehicle would cost more than we have easy cash for and bring along other concerns, like the need to replace the battery, additional maintenance, etc.

The guys at Autometrics in Berkeley sold me the car, which came into their possession rather fortuitously — they don’t deal in cars, they just fix ‘em. That said, my experience of buying the car from them was A-1 positive. Just genuinely good, trustworthy, honest people there. I would hands-down visit these folks again and again for car maintenance needs. They run a great shop.

While the environmentalist in me truly longs for the day when I can upgrade to an affordable all-electric vehicle that can get us from here to L.A. without the need to charge the car multiple times, for now I’ll be sticking with this “recycled” vehicle. And in the meantime, I’m still absolutely committed to getting around by foot as much as possible when I’m not putting little Zoey here to use for those longer, trickier trips.

Yes, I’ve named her. She’s my little soul-sister.

Take note…

  • KCSM jazz – one of the last existing 24-hour jazz stations in the United States; show them some love by becoming a supporter.
  • Autometrics of Berkeley – operating since 1973; check these guys out for solid, honest service.
  • Calling all engineers out there — consider putting your skills to use to help develop the next generation of all-electric vehicles that can go the distance! We’re all waiting on you…