driving me broke
07.02.05 // 4:54 p.m.

I know I should be thankful that I have a reliable car and can afford it despite my meager income as a grad student, but I'm not. Owning my own car is a mixed blessing because with driving come costs I didn't foresee when I got my first car at 20.

Driving in this city is freaking expensive. Car note, insurance, gas, parking permit, occasional parking ticket, maintenance and car washes really add up. I figured out that the cost of driving around my Stratus daily is about $25/day. Ouch.

I do it because I've been spoiled by never having to rely on public transportation. Growing up, my family always had at least two cars. By the time my siblings and I reached driving age my parents added to the number of cars in our driveway. None of us started driving at 16, it just wasn't necessary nor was there a car for us to drive around town. Danny got his license at 17 along with a used silver Chrysler LeBaron convertible. I waited until a few days before my 20th birthday to get my license and start driving around Computer Blue, my 1987 Chrysler New Yorker. The main reason I was motivated to actually get my license was because the New Yorker was just sitting in the driveway waiting for a driver. My dad stopped driving it after he got a Jeep. Lori and Adrian got their licenses and a truck -- Donkey, the Ford Ranger -- at the same time. Lori was 19 and Adrian was 18. Now, Lori has her own car, a Toyota Camry. When my grandparents are staying in Hacienda Heights, the driveway gets even more crowded.

My family is very much an LA/Southern California family. We show up to events in two, maybe three cars. Everyone comes and goes on their own. We all love to drive, and do so in classic LA style: distracted.

I think it's safe to say that the mos-KEH-dah kids are not the best drivers in town. Our not-so-stellar track record with our insurance company and dents serve as proof for the (mostly) minor mistakes.

During my third year at UCLA, I had my own car, but I would rarely drive it to campus. Parking there costs $7 per day and I didn't have a permit. I took the bus and didn't like it too much especially since I was usually running late and often missed the bus. Since 2001, I've had a permit and drive the 6 miles or so to campus and pay an exorbitant amount to park ($171 per quarter!).

I've thought about ditching my car and taking the bus more often. I always go back to the convenience of driving on my own. I've been spoiled and now my wallet is finally feeling the effects of LA car culture.

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Me siento: baffled
Escuchando: post dodger game interview with shawn green

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