Ok, so here’s the deal: Valerie and I are getting on in years, and… No, the problem is that we’re getting settled. We’re counting the cost and determining what kind of lifestyle it’s going to take for us to see everything through in New England that we need to do.
Both of us need to get places. Debt levels are pretty high, and they show every sign of getting higher. Valerie has one semester left of classes before she needs to be working full time. This semester is scheduled so that she can look for real work starting in January, but at the same time, little part-time public health work opportunities keep popping up that look very appealing. The problem is getting to them.
I on the other hand have just accepted a part time position at CBD. I wasn’t even quite sure I was interested when an opportunity appeared. So I applied, and before I knew it, I was employed. I will have a 16 hr/wk position starting sometime late September. The benefit is that it’s a call center position, which will give me structure for reviewing my Hebrew between calls, and I’ll get a 15% discount on all materials, which will serve to support my uh… little habit.
But then there’s the complication: We only have one car. The plan so far has been that Valerie takes the train to her school (the station is only blocks away), while I drive to mine. But what of the looming event where we both need separate transportation? There’s a health office position in Essex opening up that pays $2.50 more than what I’m going to be getting. Should my employment trump hers?
Theoretically, with the income from extra work, we should simply ante up and buy a second car, but there’s the second complication: We live in New England. Parking is horrendous here because various special interest groups have banded together to ban development. Our town is titleholder to thousands of acres of undeveloped property because certain parties in Massachusetts have felt a shortage in hiking trails and unexploréd vistas. The attached two-door garage is a mere chimera in a town that has successfully warded off the 20th century for a full 100 years in hope of better things in the 21st.
Our apartment is a converted 3-storey house: three storeys, three apartments. Amazingly, there is actually parking for three cars. There isn’t parking for a fourth. If we bought a second car, where would we put it? I have heard of a space on the street around the corner, but only a rumor of it has reached my ears.
One possible solution: Vespa, the original motor scooter. This is not a motorcycle. This is an important feature to point out, since anything that may be described as a motorcycle is an immediate dealbreaker with my wife. It’s also important because I just don’t fit the biker meme. But *this*: it has a motor and wheels, it’s fuel economical, and it has a small storage compartment. Additionally, it was designed with a clean look in mind, and with a concern for staying clean while driving it: note the giant fender for the legs.
This is a vehicle which could get me to work or school in a pinch, leaving the car for other purposes, which would use hardly any gas, and which could easily fit in the same parking space as the car.
However, there remain, two concerns for my hypothetical purchase: The first is price. Vespas sell new for around 4-6 thousand dollars. A search on Ebay reveals most used Vespas still selling for around $2000. For this kind of money, you could buy a decent used car. And if you can buy a car with that money, it begs the question why you should interest yourself in something that won’t block out the rain.
The second concern? WINTER.