Monday, November 30, 2009


This morning the mechanic told H-town that his 96 Chrysler, affectionately known as The Cruiser, needs $2,000 worth of work. $2,000 we don't have that is frankly not worth pouring into the poor beast.

We've been talking theoretically about sharing a car for more than a year, but now that we're faced with it I have this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. We both work from home (ish). We have a supermarket in walking distance. Not to mention Little Joy, Mohawk General Store, and the Friday night farmer's market. (As if I ever leave the house.)

So what's the big deal?

I thought maybe it would help me to make a list of pros and cons. If you have any suggestions to add, I'd love to hear em.

1. We'll save money on car insurance. Obv.

2. We'll only have to worry about ONE CAR getting dinged on our crazy narrow street.

3. We'll only have to guerrilla park ONE CAR when we leave town for christmas.

4. H-town will have the perfect excuse not to keep a schedule.

5. I won't have to feel sheepish about making my friends pick me up on the way to the bar.


Meh. When did I turn into such an Angelino?

(King of the road by Jenny Nordberg via woolgathering & miscellany)


  1. get rid of it! if joe wasn't such a damn baby, ours would have been gone long, long ago.

  2. why not? if you hate it, you can always get another car AND have a badass bike!

  3. We live in Silver Lake and have shared a car for 2 years. We've been lucky that both of the places we work are convenient to subway stops/ bus lines. Once you live with it for a while it's not bad at all. The only thing that becomes a pain in the ass are trips to the post office when your other has the car.

    PS - Don't forget you get to split the cost of gas, oil changes and all that other goodness.

  4. I secretly wouldn't mind if one of our cars went kaput, since I've recently learned that L.A. buses and old-school pedal bikes are a completely viable alternative. I'm too chicken to actively give up the car, but it it just happened to us, oh well.

    Go for it (and also get a mechanic second opinion. Email if you need a good cheap one - though you'd need to go Westside)

  5. I may be facing the exact same situation very soon. My wife's car got hit Friday night while it was parked outside our house minding it's own business, culprit no where to be found. It is now at the body shop where they are figuring out if it's totaled. We've already decided if we have to share a car we can make it work. I take the subway to work, so I rarely use my car anyway. Of course, it's very specific to where you live and how much you need to drive alone. I think if you can live with one car, go for it. At least for a while to see if you don't mind it.

  6. we haven't had a car since july-ish. and it's worked out pretty nicely.

    it's always easier when you're in a city. public transportation and stuff within walking distance and whatnot.

  7. I drive my ass all over town for work (unfortunately) or I'd give up my car in a heartbeat! In fact I often wax nostalgic about my years in SF sans car! And C doesn't have a car right now and she's taking the bus to work and loves it! We use our one car for big grocery trips etc...but living downtown, we try to walk/ride bikes more often than not anyhow. So that's my very long winded way of saying "Just Go for it!" :)

  8. After a little time for adjustment you won't even notice the fact that you are sharing a car. We have been sharing a car for almost four years and I actually would put having to get a second car as a con for something like moving outside of the city or both commuting in different directions. It will be liberating and if you hate it you can always get another car later.

  9. I'm a neighborhood or two over, and when I was saving up for a car, I took the fine, fine, superfine LA public transit system to work and everywhere--even Santa Monica (yes, it took over an hour--but I got there). It was fine; it was freeing. But I still bought a car. In LA it is hard. But you can do it. You guys can always start saving money for a six months and then make the call.

  10. AH I brought this up today to my bf, totally un-doable for us (we live in FL and everything, including jobs, is at leat a 30 min car drive anywhere) but we have 2 cars and 2 giant trucks... and broke, so we're downgrading to 1 each. I would totally car share if I were in your sitch. HELLO CHEAP INSURANCE!

  11. I got in a fender bender over a year ago and decided to take the insurance money and worry about getting a new car later. A few months turned into a year and i've now been going a year and 4 months carless--something I never thought possible. I live in Long Beach, not the most public transit friendly city, but I get by. Yes it takes a little bit longer to get from point a to point b. Yes, i've been caught in a downpour. Yes, i've had the embarrassment of running and screaming after a bus. But it's been an experience. I'd say if anything, i've learned to love my city more. You see a whole new side of it. Try it out! If you absolutely hate it, you'll know atleast you gave it a shot.

  12. If it's feasible [LA can be tricky], totally do it. It saves tons of money, parking sanity, and gives you good excuses to bail out of things early ["Ed needs the car...sorry" smile]. Plus, you find yourself walking way more. We've lived in the Boston area for 4 years with 1 car + his bike.

    I will warn you that I've found car-sharing disagreements are more frustrating than house-sharing spats [fundamentally, the argument is a result of 2 immediate car needs, and you know it just won't happen for one person no matter what], but nothing we haven't been able to manage. Good luck!

  13. Having a car in LA is definitely more handy than where I just moved from, so I'm happy I have mine back. But I went 2 years without one in DC, and it was the best ever. You won't even notice once it's gone. There is an oddly smug feeling to be had when you realize you don't have a car, and you don't need one either.

  14. Get rid of the car already! The chubby hubby and I have been car-free for over three years now- and it's been three years of bliss. No car insurance. No gas. No road rage. No parking tickets.

    Believe me, the pros far outweigh the cons.

    Besides, why do you need your own car when you're a hermit anyway? ;)


  15. Matt's car died last year and we had so much fun kickingthat baby to the curb. Having one car is hardly ever an inconvenience for was easy to make the switch and I am proud of only having one car! Do it!

  16. we did the 1-car thing for 8 months. in west la.

    it was only slightly inconvenient.

    do it prove it.

    p.s. hi.

  17. one car is enaugh!
    i don't have one either.
    even sold my bike after having two accidents
    in one week years ago.
    but: i don't live in L.A.
    I guess in Berlin and London its easy to live without car.
    still: you guys have one to share-

    btw: what a cool picture!

  18. ah, the hazards of having a national readership! cars are those things shaped like taxis, right?

    my vote would be to try for the single. as many have noted, you can always go back up to two if it's unbearable - and in the interim you'll be saving all kinds of money (*cough*acneplatforms*cough*).

  19. bike, bike, bike.

    Me and my hubs share a car... it isn't all that bad. You save, you stay fit and you learn to comprise/accommodate.

    ps: that antlered bike fucking kills me. I want it... I've been thinking about it since yesterday.


  20. i say lose the car. my man and i were in a similar situation with his car, and we ended up donating it to charity and taking the sweet tax write-off. that made my new car OUR car. now we have less gas to pay for, we share the car payment and insurance, etc. we both work outside of our home, and it has helped me immensely with work/life balance (i.e. i can't stay too late at work if i'm carpooling with the hubby who needs to get out of the lab asap.) while we may get a 2nd car someday when we can afford it, we've had no problems at all with our sharing arrangement--and i'm normally pretty possessive about stuff like that.

  21. My fiance and I cut down to one car a year ago and it's been surprisingly easy. We live in Minneapolis, close to downtown where we both work. He drives to work, I take the bus or walk. I can only think of one day in this past year where I thought it was a pain to share. Getting rid of his car payment and insurance basically made it possible to save for our wedding!

  22. this is so funny...i've been reading your blog for a few months now, and sometimes i feel like we're leading parallel lives on different coasts. my fiance and i are going through the same thing right now, although he's stubborn as a mofo and doesn't want to get rid of his car, despite the fact that parking is notoriously AWFUL in hoboken, nj, and he walks to work and doesn't even need it! ugh, don't get me started. i think sharing is more budget-friendly, environmentally friendly and less of a pain in the ass when parking is a challenge.

  23. we shared a car for 2 months. it wasn't too bad. plus, i kind of like car pooling with willie. he makes car rides realllllly fun. we sing really loudly to horrible songs.

    actually, we were carpooling yesterday(in order to save gas) and we did a duet to elvis presley's 'blue christmas'. i did the background vocals. it was horrendous, but so amazing.

    if we didn't carpool from time to time, we would not get to sing in the car. and i would be sad.

  24. Last year, my husband and I decided to downsize to one car, so we sold his (older crappier) car, and three weeks later, he totaled mine. Then we had no car for a month. Having no car makes having one car feel like a huge luxury!

    Point of story- I love, love, love only having one, and have stopped applying for jobs that would require us to have two. Try it- you'll like it.

  25. While we live in one of the great public transit cities, we share a car. Two cars in San Francisco would be hell. We hardly ever notice, and David drives it to work everyday. It's my car too, so it's fine.

    And LA does have pretty good public transit now. My dad takes it everywhere... even from Pasadena into downtown. He doesn't drive at all (my parents also share a car, and in LA).

    Do it. The money and hassel you will save will be worth it.

  26. you guys are so rad. but you crack me up with all this "public transportation" business. srsly.

  27. Do it! We share one car and it's fine 95% of the time. The 5% of the time that we both want to use the car isn't worth the expense of having an extra one to pay for and park.

    Bus service is a little more tricky in east LA than in west LA, but you can still do it if you need to. It is not. that. bad.

  28. Absolutely love that antler/bike image. Great blog just stumbled upon it from another one I was reading!

    yay for another fellow angelino!


  29. a) I know an awesome, very honest mechanic in Eagle Rock if you want a 2nd opinion.

    b) My hubby had a Chrysler that was nothin' but a MONEY PIT. I feel your pain.

    c) if there is any, any way you can do with just one car, go for it! It'll just make you that much more of a total rockstar :)

  30. I share a car with my fiance. Problem is we don't live together. That one can be fun at times. We only live a mile apart but it can be a hassle getting back and forth. Thankfully we both take the train to work and don't need it that often, but its been interesting.

  31. Not having been to LA I have no idea if it's possible to live without a car, but you guys have buses right? And bikes? And can get a taxi if you really need to? (which is what we do here in London)

    Or what about street car? (pay a monthly subscription and use a local car when you need one).

    Hate to be the one that raises the green flag, but surely if you buy organic food & recycle etc etc, surely sharing a car is just another positive step? :)

  32. Ditch the car! my fiance and i share a (his) car and it's fantastic (he works at home and i'm a student, so that's makes it easier.) When i sold my car last year it felt like someone had cut a ball and chain off me, it was wonderful, very free-ing. and we live in minneapolis too, where it's freakin freezing 6 months out of the year, and still get by mostly biking/sharing car.