Here’s a fun fact about me: my license expired in December and I haven’t gotten it renewed. Now, before you think I’m breaking any laws, I cannot tell you the last time I was behind the wheel. Maybe three years ago? Four? As a perpetual city-dweller, I’ve never owned –nor felt a need for– a car. In fact, I was 20 when I finally cracked and got my license; I paid for driving lessons and went through a red light on my first one, prompting the instructor to say, “Um, okay, that was a red light. We stop at those.” I can’t drive fast, I keep my hands in the 10-and-2 position, and I get the sweats at the thought of merging. But parallel parking? I am an excellent parallel parker. At least, I was three years ago.
I’ve relied on my two legs and public transit for the majority of my life, and have never seen the appeal of paying a car payment, insurance, gas, parking, or any of the other costs that come with it. Sports cars do nothing for me. I honestly hadn’t given any thought to anything remotely vehicular since I was six, and my parents got me a bright red Ferrari for my Barbies.
And then I went to Paris. Where, while everyone relies on the metro or the buses, Parisians who have cars choose to have tiny, adorable cars. Vintage mini coopers; old, small Fiats; shiny, teensy Smart cars. No giant SUVs here, or oversized sedans people trade in every three years, no sir. Just wonderful, and wonderfully photogenic, little rides that startled me every time I saw someone emerge from one. For one of these pint-sized sets of wheels, I would happily abandon my permanent pedestrian status.