Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There Are a Lot of Things I Can Get along Without

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There Are a Lot of Things I Can Get along Without

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Longenecker

Several people were amused by my new car column. To some, its seems out of character for me to even own a car.

They asked why I wanted air conditioning in the car. My house has done well without air conditioning for about four years after the old compressor died. It is nice to arrive at work without sweat-drenched clothes when driving is a must. Fans work at home!

My main job (out of seven or so) is in the emergency department at Shands Jacksonville hospital. A car is often needed. I leave home about 5 a.m. in all kinds of weather, year-round. During the summer, I might bike there two to four times a month. Generally, I need a reliable car because we can be called in at almost any time and for special situations like a hurricane.

My car needs are so simple. I do not need satellite guidance, remote key entry, a DVD system, seat warmers, power steering, automatic transmission or dark, tinted windows, a six- or eight-cylinder engine, 300 horsepower or other "power this" or "automatic that" options.

A car with decent gas mileage and the least number of things to repair is it. Some cargo space is a good idea for my annual mountain escape. My working toy collection demands gear space for camping, kayaking and biking stuff.

I travel gear-heavy because my fun is self-generated. No amusement parks or need to pay guides to help me have fun. I own my fun and choose not to rent it.

To earn "fun" car mileage, I often bike-commute. I am personally driven to keep the car in the garage as much as possible, often two to four days a week. Then, when I do take a rare day trip, a Florida biking heaven or the annual trip to the mountains, I have banked enough driving credit. During one mountain trip, my car was driven only six out of the 11 days.

Living at the beach means a bike is really enough for most trips. I biked past a Beach Boulevard water park one hot day and actually felt sorry for those standing in a very long line to have fun.

They cannot have fun for themselves! They must rely on that water-eating, water-wasting park to play for them. (Even if the water is recycled, it is a waste of good water! …

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