Yes that’s right I don’t drive

I had to go to the hospital yesterday for a consultation regarding having my wisdom teeth out, they have imparted no extra wisdom to me so there coming out. Anyway like most of the country yesterday it was very wet, but I did not have my son with me so I decided to walk the three miles in the rain to the hospital. I never think anything of it as I have never had a car or even learned to drive. I did have a job years ago when I drove tractors but that is the extent to which I have added to the already cogested road system. Today I walked to my mothers another three miles approx, when I arrived there were some distant relatives, visiting for christmas, and inevitably the question comes up again Where’s your car? don’t you drive? and the worst one you are stupid not to drive. Then I have to answer another round of questions to see if I am lazy,scared or even setting a bad example to my son.

Last week on the way back from the shop I saw two women talking in the middle of the road, both dressed in, I guess, identical nurses uniforms disscussing work. Nothing strange about that you may think, however they then said ‘see you later’ to each other, walked into there drives, got in a car each and drove off down the street, one behind the other????

Now I must confess that my wife does drive and enjoys it, so I can’t preach about pollution and so on. We have a decomissioned postal van which we are doing up into a camper, but thats another post. Many people would say that then it is easy not to drive and it’s more about lazyness than ethics. However I do all the shopping, visit my mother who is disabled as I’m a registered carer and we go together every three weeks to the super market to get tins, cleaning products and chilli sauce. Also my wife works as a riding instructor and has a horse of her own so is out the house alot, even if I did drive we would possibly have to have two cars for me to actually have any time driving. I think that this allows me to say that I can continue to be a non-driver without being considered lazy.

What I object to is that as a non-driver is that you are considered as if you are lacking an essential skill, yes it is true that the design of todays towns and cities are all designed around the car but they are also catering for a certain lifestyle that I’m not part of. I know there are people who consider me lazy ,most are in my family, but they don’t see that I do more physical activity when walking than they possibly do in a week driving. I get great joy walking or cycling I can stop and enjoy something and be off again befor most people have found a parking space. I also feel that it is important to experience a certain amount of precipitation and sunlight direct to your skin rather than from a windscreen.

I also want to say something on public transport as I feel that it is unforgivable when people decide not to use it in favour of sitting alone in a car. However other than trains I never use our local bus service as I feel that it’s too expensive I want to support it but refuse to pay £1.50 to travel two miles.

I will admit there are times when I think if only I could drive but I think that they are no more frequent than wishing to be on holiday or winning the lottery. If somebody wants to give me a lift and it’s raining I’m not stupid but equally if it’s raining and there is no offer I will still go out, and no not just to the pub. I’m glad I don’t drive and proud that I can still get out and about without relying on other people.

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7 thoughts on “Yes that’s right I don’t drive

  1. stonehead says:

    I was regarded as quite strange when I worked on motoring magazines as I seldom drove. I’d walk the mile to the station, catch the train, and then walk another couple of miles to the office. I saw no point in driving through London traffic – it wasn’t fun and the train had less impact.
    When I did drive, it was on the odd weekend when I wanted to get away and could actually enjoy driving. Then I’d quite happily take one of the press cars.
    When I stopped working on the motoring press, I stopped driving for a few years – either walking, cycling, or using public transport. I used to go out for the evening in central London and then walk the four miles home – the only problem being that the police would stop me to see what I was up to.

    Then I had a job where I was required to have a company car – I didn’t want one, but was told someone in my position had to have one. I usually left it at work and the handbrake ended up rusting on!

    I only bought a car, an old Land Rover Defender, when we bought the croft because I need it to take the animals to the abbatoir, for hauling a few other heavy loads and when there’s too much snow for the Other Half’s car. Otherwise, I walk everywhere with the boys (four to five-mile round trips with a three-year-old and a six-year-old, but they’ve been doing it under their own steam since they could walk).

    However, I’ve now persuaded the Other Half to get rid of her car, I’ll give mine to her and I now have a three-seater cargo tricycle to get myself and our two boys around.

    I’m firmly of the opinion that legs are for walking (and cycling!), not for holding an accelerator down or sticking up on a table!

  2. dibnah says:

    I can see that for some people it’s vital to have some mode of transport if they want to be in contact with the world, for you where you are it’s a greater sacrifice considering you can drive and choose not to.

    Equally this is why I become annoyed when I am made to feel bad for not driving, when I live in the town and have no need what so ever for a car.

  3. Hazel says:

    I totally agree. I get those comments all the time :o(

  4. Alyx says:

    I think it’s fantastic that you stick to your principles and don’t drive. I too know the pressures that our society put on us to do the so called ‘normal’ things in life (like get to 17 and learn to drive big cars with big dirty engines) So up to now (24 years young) I’ve not driven and walk to work (2 miles there and back) or use trains. (I can think of nothing better than to sit on trains, daydreaming whilst looking out of the window at the landscape) However, just lately I can feel myself crumbling to society’s ideals that we should drive. I’ve lasted so long (ok – don’t get me wrong its only for the past say, 2 years that I’ve chosen not to drive for my own green reasons) but can sort of feel the pressure to drive now, more than ever before. It does give you a certain sense of independence but I have to keep reminding myself that so does walking / biking / public transport etc. Who needs another car on the road when there are so many other options available? Although we do now have healthier alternatives that are low on Co2 emissions but even so – Is that good enough?

  5. dibnah says:

    I used to think that driving gave you independance, but thinking about it those are drivers words. I never feel trapped because I can’t drive, it’s just one less expence one less thing to worry about.

    I do admit that it would be nice to get out into the country more but again when ever I’m in a car the driver will always say ” we can’t stop here”

    Think about it this way when you don’t drive you can always pop into the pub on the way home, just for one, you understand.

  6. andi says:

    thanks !! this writing strongly supports my thinking… !!

  7. Ian Bolton says:

    Car sales people understand the reliance we all have on cars. The fact we all have our desires just makes it obvious that we live is a thoughtless spoilt society where we get just what we want, when we want it.
    I’ve just been to Manchester for a few weeks and the amount of sports cars and massive 4x4s I saw was ridiculous. I would walk a mile to get to the city centre, get onto Deansgate and it would be a great feeling walking down the street feeling the hustle and bustle of a city. What was frustrating was seeing 12 year olds racing down the street in stupidly kitted up cars thinking they were cool.
    I’ve been a driver for 12 years and now feel much cooler knowing that my walking and reliance on public transport allows me to do everything I need, but in a cheaper simpler way. I took my cars for granted, then when they had broken down I was stuffed. Nowadays I’m more relaxed, less bothered about wanting a car and more fortunate to realise that the things we own do eventually control our lives… so I don’t want to own anything!!

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