It’s been 39 days since I left my job, and I’ve finally sold my car. It was an inevitability: at some point, you either get rid of your car or it gets destroyed in a wreck. Or it outlives you, I suppose, but that’s a bit too grim.

After leaving my job, there was no longer any reason to drive. Living in southern Toronto, in the densely populated Annex neighbourhood, everything is within walking distance. I had to actually drive to the grocery store half a mile away just to make sure the battery didn’t die from atrophy. One of peculiar things about Canada is that they’re not very flexible on car insurance: you must purchase the full liability coverage, and as an immigrant, there’s the added surcharge. In the end, my car insurance ended up being $230 CAD a month, and that’s after all the discounts I’ve managed to stack up. Add the monthly parking fee on top of that, and it’s close to $400 a month, which is a lot to pay for a glorified paperweight.

Thinking strategically, there’s only one time I’ll absolutely need a car in the next year or so, and that’ll be for my upcoming move to Quebec. (I have my heart set on Quebec City…) Even then, I’d need to get a Uhaul to move all my stuff, so once again, a car would be a liability. (Not to mention paying extra for the registration in Quebec, etc.)

I’ve had that little Kia Rio since 2013, but it was time to say goodbye. After 61,777 miles, after more roadtrips than I care to recall, we parted ways. Of course, things didn’t quite go smoothly: an overly enthusiastic car wash guy slathered absolutely everything in shampoo, flooded the car’s electronics, disabled the fuel gauge, a couple of small buttons, and half the wiper functions – and ultimately cost me about $450 in repairs and discounts. Ho hum. In the end, the car I’d bought for $24,000 USD in Vegas ended up getting sold for $3,750 CAD in Toronto: that’s an 87.4% drop in value. The purchase price is a bit high because I was an idiot and fell for every single sales trick. Yes, they actually managed to sell me anti-rain windshield treatment in the middle of the desert. (Hey, I never claimed to be wise.) Still, that investment gave me some much-needed peace of mind, since my previous three cars had been lemons that were liable to break down at least every other month. When you’re a warehouse grunt, and when missing a workday not only costs a day’s wages but potentially jeopardizes your job security… In that context, a monthly payment of ~$360 is a whole lot cheaper than spending the same amount of money on repairs. Ahh, youth.

It’s strange, adjusting to the new carless mindset. Earlier today, as I finalized the transaction with an enthusiastic guy (who also happened to be a double immigrant like myself), there was a choice of taking a 40-minute Lyft or a 1-hour-40-minute bus trip home. One of those options was literally 10 times more expensive than the other. I think you know which one I picked. Some panicky part of my brain keeps pointing out all the car-accessible places I can’t easily go to (like the town where they shot Schitt’s Creek) but even then, arranging a ride would be a whole lot easier and cheaper than maintaining a car I don’t really use. My life is simpler now, which is exactly what I’d been working toward. In many ways, I’m drifting back to the pre-Amazon version of myself, right out of college. Replacing cider with coke, reverting from being a driver to being a pedestrian.

There is a symmetry to this: the only reason I ever got a car in the first place (and learned to drive over the course of one weekend) was because of my Amazon job. That warehouse was the only place hiring in Reno during the mean, lean winter of 2009, and it was 35 miles away. There was no transit, and eventually I ran out of carpool buddies. I needed that job, so a $1,200 lemon car was the only way to go. Now that my 11.5-year journey with the company is over, so is my need for a car. It all folds in on itself, eh?

The only objective downside is that I won’t be able to get away at top speed if there’s ever a legitimate but improbably rare emergency, such as a global pandemic or a radioactive leak at the local nuclear power plant – but come on, those things only happen once a century or so. (If the Pickering Nuclear Plant goes kaboom right after I post this… Come on, it was funny, though.) Without my car, xgf and I never would’ve been able to run off on our 72-day-long AirBnB odyssey. Still, even the prospect of a mildly apocalyptic romantic adventure isn’t enough to maintain that dead weight.

This will take some getting used to… Even as my mobility is reduced, my life is so much simpler now. What I gave up in my freedom of movement, I’ve offset by making my bank account happier and my life a bit less stressful. No longer shall I have to be that jerk neighbour who drives to the grocery store a few blocks away – and if that’s not a clear-cut benefit, I don’t know what is. I hope my car leads a long and happy life before heading off to the big Kia parking lot in the sky, eh.