MANNO: Why I’ll never buy a car (unless I need oranges)

Manno2WEBPlanes, trains and other people’s automobiles.

I did a bit of traveling over my spring break, and like the ride-mooch I have come to be, it was all with somebody else at the wheel. Two planes, a couple ferries, four buses, two trains, a whole lot of walking and some drives with Moroccan men in aqua-blue Mercedes sedans built in the ‘80s. Add on a few subway rides for good measure, and it was all a simple Point A to Point B endeavor.

This all made me realize something about being back home: If all goes as planned, I can’t ever see myself shelling out the cash and buying a car.

Besides the walking, which I paid for dearly with water-logged and shrunken sneakers, this was all cheap public transportation. Heck, I even got some extra zzz’s in and read a few chapters. If you have to get somewhere, public transport and sharing rides is ideal in so many ways: avoiding toll roads, reducing pollution, eliminating road rage. You might even meet some new friendly folks here and there.

I guess buying a car has never really been in my sights at all. In Cleveland, I bused downtown to work; I can get across the Midwest with a bus or chip in for gas with a carpool crowd, and when it’s not two degrees in Milwaukee, it’s easy to zip around on a bike.

As long as I hope to be living in a city as big as Milwaukee or above, there’s always ample transportation. A car just has too many cons for me to handle: gas money, repairs, that nasty smell when you turn the heat on for the first time in the winter. Big city centers are usually great for efficient public transportation, and it’s one fewer car clogging I-94 during the day. As long as I’m finding cheap ways to get around, for the foreseeable future, I don’t see any need to get my own wheels.

Plus, I’ve had a pretty good run stealing rides from other people. Why switch to the other side?

On the other hand, avoiding the 40-minute Milwaukee County Transit round trip to Pick N’ Save would be nice once in a while. Why can’t a man get some nice oranges without hauling halfway across town? This is the only reason I’d swing the other way. The other solution is to invest in some leather and get a motorcycle.

Tony Manno is a junior double majoring in journalism and writing-intensive English. Email him at anthony.manno@marquette.edu.