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Taking the goddamned bus to the hardware store...

... to buy insulation for the windows, because we don't have a goddamned hardware store in my own town anymore.

It should only take three or four hours!

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goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Can't you buy an old beater and keep it in your driveway in case of emergency? With bus service but no hardware store, your town sounds like it's straight out of a Stephen King novel. Do you live in Derry?

Submitted by lambert on

I can't take the atmosphere. (So his style really works!)

Driving is out. For one thing, one of my eyes is bad and I have no depth perception. For another, I'd have to get a license and worse, insurance. Finally, having me driving a couple of tons of metal around on the roads is not a good plan.

The solution is a bike, but I can't risk a (second) accident on a two-wheeler, because if I break a hand I can't work. Trikes are a little pricey. And they're all only good in the summer.

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

thought also and if the people that collect my rent would do it online I wouldn't have to drive 15mi into town. Order on line and it's on the front porch in a few days. I beginning to think L likes the pain;)

Submitted by lambert on

.... since the mag strip on my old card was finally unworkable, and I am between cards.

Yes, this stuff is available on Amazon. It's hard to see how I could get paint mixed at Amazon, though. And there are a myriad of little things that it's much nicer (and healthier) to walk downtown and get, than to have come in the UPS (though I do use Amazon for other things, like my wonderful iPad lenses).

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

When this came up before I thought I don't have enough information about your commutes and routes, but it sure seems like you picked a funny place to be without a car. None of my business, of course. The alternatives that come to mind, but which might not be practical for whatever reason, are bicycle, motorcycle (or scooter, if you are very secure in your masculinity) a horse or mule. The mule would be the right choice for someone who is outstandingly stubborn in his own right and has the willpower to put up with mulishness. There may be local ordinances prohibiting travel on horseback in your area. I'm pretty sure laws like that exist around here (Atlanta) although I did see a black guy riding a horse on the 17th street bridge one morning a couple of months back. "He rode a blazing saddle..." Ok he wasn't on the bridge exactly, but he had to have crossed it to get where he was. Personally, I'm looking to add a motorcycle to my transportation palette, seeing as bus service around here is good for nothing but long waits outdoors with unhappy people.

Submitted by lambert on

I live in a small university town, whose "downtown" seems to be becoming a destination for food (good) and not a destination for anything else (bad). So I'm not out in the boonies, or in Stephen King territories. The busline to the adjoining town with the hardware store is a once an hour affair, but the afternoon schedule is such that if I leave at 2:30, I get back at 5:00. That's a long time for a single errand. (The Mall is a four hour trip; as I keep saying, I might as well just make a day of it and go to Boston.)

See above on bikes. The requirements are: (1) All season and (2) no accidents that could injure a hand. So that leaves out anything with two wheels, so far as I can see.

I wouldn't mind a four-wheeled electric vehicle to putter around in, if the price point were well under $1000.

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

Have I got the car for you! Well. Almost.
DIY Geo Metro EV
You'd need a friend who was a good mechanic with lots of time on his hands for a unique project, and who owed you a shit ton of favors. If you have a friend like that, and you could nearly hit your price point. (Often the converted car is a freebie if you tow it away)

paintedjaguar's picture
Submitted by paintedjaguar on

Back in the 70's I owned a 200cc street bike and it was good cheap local transportation. Now they apparently don't even sell anything smaller than 250cc and the prices make them rich man's toys instead of poor man's transport. Also a motorcycle or scooter no longer seems feasible unless you have very good medical insurance -- in the 70's, people of modest means could still afford medical care and insurance.

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

It's really frustrating but even with regular gas at >$3.50 gal. Americans are largely unwilling (so far) to consider the motorcycle as basic transportation. Everything has to be hugely overengined like over 1000cc, or else buyers evidently feel their manhood is being called into question. Americans want specialized motorcycles they can ride through canyons, swamps and deserts, or 1,200cc bikes that make the pavement shake (and are dangerously heavy and unmaneuverable, and get lousy fuel economy), or crotch rockets that go 200 mph (and also get lousy fuel economy), but they will not buy motorcycles to go fetch the groceries and take something to Post Office. You can count the number of currently offered "standard" bikes under 500cc on one hand just about. Suzuki TU250. SuzukiGW250, Yamaha SR400. Everything else at this engine size is "cruiser" style (ugh!) or crouched over sportbike. More models like you once had, sub 250cc, are still available from the same major Japanese manufacturers worldwide, but they don't import them here. Americans are too fat to fit on them, or too fixated on touchy matters of size to buy them. A taller person would need a full sized bike, though, and a little more motor than a 200 - like Yamaha's SR400.

paintedjaguar's picture
Submitted by paintedjaguar on

Taller than who? (I'm 5'10"). My Bridgestone 200 (2-cycle) looked like any other full sized street bike of the time and had enough go to get you into trouble -- it just wasn't as highway worthy as a 350 to 600 Honda or Yamaha, or as fast as a rice-rocket like the Suzuki 350 (also a 2-cycle). No electric starter or fancy seat, but it got good mileage and could handle a stretch of Interstate if need be, unlike most modern scooters.

1970 Bridgestone 200

Several years ago I went browsing in a cycle shop and was looking all over for something that wasn't a cruiser, dirt bike or racer. When I finally spotted some, up on a second-floor balcony, they turned out to be the owner's collection of classic street bikes, not for sale.

As I said though, the deciding point for me was health coverage. I never knew anyone who owned a motorcycle and hadn't dropped it at least once, even if you walked away without any serious damage.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Let's see how much I remember from the last time Lambert mentioned the hardware store. I think it was too far for bicycling. I know his vision isn't the best, so a motorcycle or scooter could be a way of turning himself into once-ambulatory organ storage. An old beater is only good for emergencies if it doesn't itself become an emergency. To get something at all reliable, you're still looking at thousands of dollars. And I get the impression Lambert tries to avoid Amazon like the plague. Plus, sometimes you need to see and palpate what you're buying. (How's that? Did I cover it?)

All that said, these people seem okay and have the most amazing selection: HomeFixitParts

Submitted by lambert on

.... but I don't. I do try to avoid rush orders. (And I am giving work to UPS ;-) I wish there were a way to bring pressure on them. Maybe of 1,000 of us ordered the same book and simultaneously cancelled it...

Submitted by Dromaius on

I know how you feel. I go to jury duty on Monday....3 hour round trip commute by bus (and walking). I have to leave home at 6:30am to get there on time. It's not that I don't have a car. It's that parking in the major metropolis where I'm going is insane. Why courthouses can't have satellite campuses that are closer to the citizens they serve, I'll never know.

I go even though I sacrifice the wages I could have made (I am essentially self(under)-employed). I go even though when I honestly answer the questions, I know I will likely not be seated on any jury. Only about 30% of attendees are seated.

I go, knowing that there isn't even a lunch place in the area that appeals to me, so I don't even have that to look forward to.

And it pisses me off. Civic duties that I must attend under penalty of jail or fine are more like imprisonment than civic duty, especially considering the low rate of placement on jury.

So goddamn it is right. I hope you had loads of reading to do on the way. I've loaded up my tablet with library borrowed Kindle books and hope I survive the week.