Compact Lite

By now you may have heard of The Compact, the group in San Francisco who try not to buy anything new for a year. They have exceptions for food and things like toilet paper, but when it comes to cars or clothes, they buy only used. And I think it’s pretty neat.
I decided to try and implement a few of these steps and run an experiment. So I’m not buying clothes this year. I’ll make exceptions for a job interview (which includes meeting with agents or publishers), or a funeral (my wedding suit is in prime condition). Till then, I’ll be that guy in the slightly worn slacks.
Somebody asked me what it felt like so far (as if I’d quit smoking or something hard) and I had to say that it feel a lot like when I stopped driving. This prompts a:
Yep. Gave it up. Hated it. Was bad at it. It impaired my drinking.
It’s a pretty stupid story about how I totaled my car on an ice patch only to realize I’d let my insurance lapse by a couple of days.
“Mr. Slayton, to get your license back…”
“No, seriously Your Honor, just keep the damn thing.”
The first week I went through withdraw. I couldn’t just run to the mall and buy something. Then I noticed, I wasn’t buying as much stuff. I had more time to read on the bus. I wasn’t late as often because the bus schedule taught me discipline. I wasn’t as angry from negotiating traffic. Then, once the car loan balance was paid off, I started realizing the financial changes: no car payment, no insurance, no tickets, no gas, and no maintenance.
I’m finally getting my license back for my next Europe vacation, but it would take a lot to make me own another car.

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