I do not own a car. I have not owned a car in years, and have no plans of getting a car.
One thing about not owning a car, you save a lot of money. Granted, my wife and I have no kids, and we happen to live right behind a grocery store (5 min walk, tops). We also live right on a fairly major bus route, which is part of a much larger system, one of the best public transit systems for a city of the size I live in.
Another thing about not having a car, is that you tend to meet some interesting people, and, if you are so inclined, can have some the most amazing conversations you’ve never thought of.
One morning (a couple of years ago), I was sitting on the bus heading to work. As usual, I was sitting there listening to some music on my MP3 player (yes I was using headphones, I’m not one of those people), but that wasn’t a deterrent to the guy I was about to meet.
I think his name was Bill. Or Bob. Or Brad or Brett or something that was short and started with a B. We’ll go with Bill.
He started talking to me by asking my what kind of MP3 player I had, and then followed by showing me his phone, which he used as a music player.
Then he switched topics and told me that he normally rides his bike, that he doesn’t ride the bus often, because he isn’t allowed to carry his sword with him. You see, Bill normally has a katana that he carries around with him everywhere he goes, because he is a ninja.
That’s right. A ninja.
Then he switched topics again. (Come on, keep up! It’s easier if you just nod and smile…) He talked about how cold it was, only it wasn’t really that cold, but it felt colder than it really was to him, because he just got back from Hawaii, which is much warmer than here.
He flew to Hawaii in his sister’s company’s helicopter (which had to refuel mid-flight half way across the Pacific Ocean) so he could photograph volcanoes.
He is a freelance photographer for National Geographic, and they needed him to take some pictures of Hawaii’s volcanoes for a piece they were doing. Only when he was taking pictures of the volcano from the helicopter, he dropped his best camera in to the volcano.
It sucks, losing your best camera because you dropped it out of a helicopter into a volcano. Luckily, it wasn’t his only camera, and he was able to get some good shots, and then fly home.
Quick, back to ninjas! He then started showing me some pictures on his phone (alas, no volcanoes). Mostly some artwork that either he or a friend of his had drawn. Some of them weren’t too bad. One of them was of him as a wolf ninja. That one was drawn by one of his friends and given to him for his birthday.
Around then it was time for me to get off the bus, so I could go to my completely boring job, which did not include any ninjas, helicopters, or volcanoes. How disappointing.
But it’s nice to know there are people like Bill the Wolf Ninja, roaming the city and the world via bike, bus, and helicopter, armed with his razor-sharp katana and trusty camera, keeping the world interesting and exciting.