Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 8

Back in my high school days, most of my classmates got really excited about the idea of having a driver’s license. Some of them started going to a driving school as soon as they became eligible, at the age of 18. One classmate, the first one who turned 18 in my class, basked in tremendous respect from all of her classmates except me. I was not into cars but into fashion. My idea of being cool was to look different from others in the most stylish and hip way possible. I idiotically spent most of my tiny allowance on fashion magazines, and dreamed of being one of the world's leading fashion designers, like Yoji Yamamoto or Rei Kawakubo. Passing my driver’s license was not on my list of creative and innovative priorities, especially when I discovered I wasn’t going to be the first. Being as arrogant and ignorant as hell, young Chico believed she was the one who sets the trend for the whole school.  This ridiculous notion, however, was shattered as soon as I enrolled at a technical college, where many of world-class top designers studied, in the heart of Tokyo. I realized I was just a tiny tadpole in a huge pond. The reality made me feel humbled and relaxed, and encouraged me to make the best of my little world.

It was just after I graduated to the status of single mum,that getting a driver’s license and my own car really caught my attention. My daughter was a relatively healthy child yet visits to the hospital became an almost weekly routine. The fragile body of a baby requires regular visits to the hospital and sometimes emergency visits in the middle of the nights. Although I have the most supportive family, I had to deal with my baby’s physical condition on my own most of the time and I decided that a car would be the most convenient tool to have.
So, as soon as she started attending a public nursery school, I started attending a driver’s school and got myself a license within a couple of months, without failing any tests at all. Considering my clumsy and totally wild driving technique, my impulsive personality and my pathological reactions towards the absolutely disgusting attitudes of my instructors, getting this official authority for driving was a minor miracle.

This little miracle story leads me to discuss this question:
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a car.

In our modern life style, especially in urban areas, having a car is not a high priority anymore for we have public transport such as trains and buses. However, there are certain circumstances where having a car can make life a lot easier. Therefore, it seems crucial to concideri both the advantages and disadvantages before buying a car.

The main advantage of having car is the freedom it gives to travel anywhere at any time. In the case of a single mother like myself, having a car saved me a lot of time and extra stress for it enabled me to take my daughter to the hospital without having to wait for an ambulance. Under certain circumstances, such as emergency calls from school after a serious accident, a car is the fastest and easiest means of transport.

Moreover, a car can provide a comfortable and private space on the way to your destination. It is a mobile living room as well as a temporary accommodation, with its own air-conditioning, radio and CD players. One can dine, put on make-up, dress, take a rest or even stay overnight in an emergency. Receiving up-to-date news from a car radio can prove handy in a crisis as well.

On the other hand, the air pollution caused by automobile emissions has become a serious concern. Not only environmentally, but also physically as well as psychologically, using public transport, bicycles or even our own feet are much healthier than driving a car if only because they avoid all the stress of traffic jams. During the rush hours, the imposed intimacy of a traveling in crowded train seems less stressful than the anxiety of being stuck in traffic. These alternate forms of transport are also much easier on the family budget, since there are no taxes directly associated with them. In Japan, the official inspection fee for cars is quite steep and maintenance costs can be a considerable burden to our lives.

In conclusion, owning a car can lead to an easier life, especially at critical times, but choosing alternatives, such as public transport, bicycles or walking is wiser in the long term since these alternatives lead to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

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