I've got no car, but it's not breaking my heart
May 10, 2009 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Non-drivers of the world, unite... by foot, bus, or bike. I'm not proud of being a non-driver at my age, but I've never really felt the need to learn, and do fine with walking and public transportation... and the whole environmental trend is a bonus. But does anyone else get a lot of grief for being a grown non-driver? And how do you manage to get by (literally and figuratively)?

Do you plan on learning anytime soon? What are your reasons for not doing so (Laziness? Lack of necessity? Fear of traffic?) And I find that as scary as some drivers can be while I'm walking around, I can't imagine driving among them. Plus there's all the headache of getting a car, and insurance. And I guess there's a difference between knowing how to drive and not driving, and just not knowing.

I have to admit I felt better about this when I heard that even Neal Conan (of NPR's Talk of the Nation) pointed that that he and a guest were non-drivers. So... Anyone else?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Grab Bag (85 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 29, no license. But, I live in Manhattan, and my boyfriend drives, and we have a car, so maybe I don't count.

I used to feel bad about having others drive me around in high school/college, when I lived in suburbia, but no one thinks twice about it in the city.

No plans to learn to drive. I have crappy eyesight, and driving scares me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:18 PM on May 10, 2009

I am a driver, but I admire and respect, and envy, those who don't have to drive.

While I do think it's kind of silly to get involved in, for example, a musical theater production (with lots of rehearsals) in a town with a bad or lame public transit system if you don't have a good plan for getting to every single rehearsal, if you can avoid that or similar situations, more power to you!
posted by amtho at 8:24 PM on May 10, 2009

Non-driver, live in Montreal which has a decent transit system. Also some of the most baroque parking rules on the planet. Simply listening to people kvetch abut finding parking tends to reinforce my non-driver status. I also don't miss paying for a car, permits, insurance, repairs, gasoline and all the other joyful expenses they involve.

Not having a driver's licence means I have very occasionally needed some other form of non-deniable identification. So I keep my passport up to date.
posted by zadcat at 8:27 PM on May 10, 2009

Dated a girl who did not have a drivers license in her late 20's. I hated it about her. She was dependent on me for driving everywhere. Need to go to Ikea, call the JG. Need to shop for a small party she was having, call JG. Need to go visit her sister, call JG. If she had her license, I probably would not have minded driving her everywhere as a favor or just an excuse to spend time, but without it, it felt like I was being used and taken advantage of. I didn't even care that she never once offered to buy a few gallons of petrol.

I think she also resented the feeling that she was trapped and dependent on someone for so many things. If you live in a town like NYC, I can see it not being an issue, but if for nothing other than the feeling of independence or freedom, I would get it even if I never used it. Also, what about renting a car when you travel? Or if you have to travel for business one day and need to rent a car to get to destination.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:35 PM on May 10, 2009

I would add that there is a big difference between having a drivers license and having a car and driving. Getting a license does not mean you have to have a car and look for parking.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:36 PM on May 10, 2009

I was anti-car in my youth, and prone to long walks from point A to point B. I didn't get licensed until I was 28. I live in Manhattan, and have very little need to drive. But I do feel I have a social obligation to have a valid license, like when the logistics of getting my mother to the airport or some such would suffer as a result of my elective inabilities.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:36 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Non-driver, sufficiently crap peripheral vision that I don't feel I'd be safe navigating some of the busiest American freeways. I grew up in a situation where I was discouraged from working after school *and* told I could never, ever borrow my parents' cars, so I never bothered getting a license in high school-- I didn't have the money for a car and no one else was going to let me either get that money or use their car. I became visually impaired later in life, which kind of settled it.

I went to university in Boston and then to post-university craziness in Pittsburgh, both towns with good public transit. Los Angeles was initially a challenge because I lived in neighborhoods with limited transit. We recently moved to Santa Monica and that's been perfect-- work is a 15-minute bus ride away, my doctor and dentist are both on the same bus line, there's a grocery within walking distance.

Fortunately, my disability is obvious-- one of my eyes turns inward-- so when people, like a former boss of mine, get assy at me about "Why don't you and your husband have TWO CARS?", the only proper response is to lower my glasses and raise my eyebrow, then ask them why they think I don't have two cars in my household. Usually that stops the entire discussion cold, as it should. It's no one's business how I choose to conduct my travels.

Mr. F does drive, but we tend not to take the car out more often than once or twice a week for major errands-- picking up comics across town at our usual shop, going to Target for supplies, maybe a movie. We felt damned profligate taking the car out four times this week (three viewings of Star Trek and one laundry/ Target/ comics run).
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:40 PM on May 10, 2009

Best answer: There's no problem with being a non-driver.

But it's worth rethinking your skill set if you find you (a) really depend on other people to drive you (b) plan to always live in a urban environment with great public transport and (c) don't like to vacation in places where driving helps you get around to experiences and places you couldn't otherwise have.

I didn't own a car 'til I was 25, and to this day make every effort to live within walking/biking distance of work and shopping, live a pretty green lifestyle, reduce my weekly trips hither and yon, and consider myself a pretty minimal driver. Yet, I find I get somewhat resentful of all the nondrivers in my life who are perfectly comfortable taking advantage of the fact that I own a car and can drive. I end up taking people out to the beach (not on public transport route) or on roadtrips, the miles going onto the car I own and the maintenance in my budget. I bring them out shopping when they need big grocery loads or big purchases they can't carry. I help them move rather than send them to a moving company or UHaul type service with its associated expense. And I end up being the one driving after we've gone out and had a few beers - in fact, usually curtailing my beverages before I would like to because non-drivers are depending on me to drive them home in my car. It gets old always providing this service for others.

So, I'd think about the utility and etiquette implications of not having a license. If you have one, you can take the pressure off the car owner and offer to drive all the drunks (including them) home some night, so they don't always have to be the sober driver. You can plan trips where you take responsibility for getting around and have the freedom to go where you want. You can be ready for an emergency which might require some fast movement in a vehicle. You can be eligible to take on a rental contract if you find some clusterfuck happens over travel arrangements. And on a road trip, you can offer to take a shift at the wheel when your driver really needs shuteye, instead of just handing over some cash.

Basically, I think adults should have a driving license and know how to drive safely even when they don't own a car, and they should not take advantage of car owners to provide services they can't contribute to or compensate for. Not owning a car is a great choice, but it shouldn't entitle you to make use of other people's car-related resources without your contributing something in return.

And even if I didn't need any of the above and never ever rode in anyone else's car, as a purely emergency-ready thing I would want to know how to drive well.
posted by Miko at 8:42 PM on May 10, 2009 [18 favorites]

I'm a non-driver but had a license until it expired back in the mid 90s. I just never bothered to get it renewed and now that I'd have to retake both the written and driving tests, it just doesn't seem worth it...I never liked driving anyway.

My wife and I are big fans of public transportation even when on vacation. We've gotten around by buses or some other mass transit everywhere from Guatemala to Sri Lanka. On the rare occasion when we need a car, we rent one and she handles the driving, since she loves to do so, and I "navigate" and handle the music.

I will admit, I've gotten some funny looks over the years when busting out my passport as ID here in the States.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:48 PM on May 10, 2009

I wish I could get away with no car, but I chose to live in the countryside. When I lived in Montreal, I could never believe why someone would ever consider getting a driver's licence (even worst a car), for reasons zadcat listed above, and she did not even include the biggest problem: snow! The 'non-driver' is pretty much a urban thing. Even if I commuted to work, I'd have to drive to the bus or train station, and also there's no bus that goes to the grocery, nor to my friends' homes.

I agree that if there were less cars, there would be more buses (if I were I Bolivia there would be a few buses for every location I listed), but between now and then, I drive a fuel-efficient car.
posted by ddaavviidd at 8:52 PM on May 10, 2009

I have a license, I've just never owned a car, nor do I drive. Mainly just because I am cheap and don't want to pay for insurance, gas, etc.

Not having a car has changed how I look for places to live or work, especially since my city (edmonton) has pretty terrible transit. Back before the downturn it was easier for me to be selective about where I worked so that it would be accessible by transit, which makes me pretty lucky since around here a lot of businesses are in business park ghettos at the edge of town and inaccessible by bus.
posted by selenized at 8:56 PM on May 10, 2009

Best answer: I didn't get a license until I was 27. I grew up in Manhattan, so learning to drive wasn't something that was important to me, I could get around just fine without it. Then in college, nobody wanted to let me learn to drive using their cars, because they needed them to deliver pizza and none of us could afford repairs.

What finally made me learn to drive: 1) we needed to rent a car to go to a friend's wedding and I was the only one with a credit card; 2) I got sick of always being reliant for others when I needed to go places requiring a car; 3) I felt very guilty not being able to take a shift on road trips; and the final straw: 4) Mr. Rabbit had to drive himself to the ER once because I couldn't.

I think it's much scarier learning to drive at 27 than at 16. Even after I got my license, I avoided driving whenever possible. It took me about 3 years to not get insanely nervous at the prospect of driving, and it has only been in the past year (I'm now 34) that I've been OK driving on freeways. I still avoid driving whenever possible (I bike to work as often as I can). Admittedly, part of my dislike of driving is that I feel my vision is not as good as it should be.

But, I do like some things about driving: independence is the big one, logistics is another (if I need to drop the dog off at the vet, for instance, I can do it on my way to work rather than asking Mr. Rabbit to get up early and drive out of his way), and generally being able to contribute to things like carpools and such is nice. Also, being able to be the designated driver, since I'm not all that fond of drinking anyway.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:03 PM on May 10, 2009

Best answer: I'm 32, and I've never had a drivers license. (My twin brother other also doesn't have a license). The reason i never got a license is this:
- When i was in high school in toronto, my parents wouldn't let me get a license - they tried to use it as a carrot for better grades.
- By april of my last year of high school, my parent gave me the go-ahead, but by then the province had enacted 'graduated licensing', and i knew i wouldn't be able to get through all the graduated-phases before going to university, so i didn't bother, especially considering that my friends loved to drive, and that toronto has pretty good public transport
- I went to university in a small, compact town where having a car was unnecessary and ridiculous
- After university, i got my learners permit, let it marinate in my wallet for a year, practiced driving for one month, and failed the driving test. Then i went travelling for almost a year.
- When i came back, i moved right to downtown toronto, where i lived a 5 minute walk from a subway. I still live downtown, still near the subway, and parking is still expensive.

So, that's how it happened.

And yes - i do get bugged about it, but in sort of a 'funny eye rolling kind of way' (i think). My friends think it's ridiculous, and encourage me to learn to drive. I deprive myself of certain experiences and freedoms because i almost always refuse to ask people to drive me places - i don't want to be an obligation or burden or annoyance to my friends. (If someone offers a lift, i'll gladly say yes, though.) I find myself doing ridiculous things like ordering IKEA products online and paying for delivery, when there are three ikeas in my city - but they're difficult to get to by public transport. I can't apply for jobs that are beyond the reaches of the subway. I can't go to my family's cottage by myself. I have to carry my passport around as ID.

What holds me back from getting my license? A bunch of things:
- Inertia. I've adapted my life to not driving and it feels normal.
- Fear of sucking. I don't like being bad at things, and i fear i'll be a bad driver
- A belief that learning to drive will make me look like i am admitting defeat, or admitting that all the 'you should driver-ers' were right
- Uncertainty about how to proceed. I don't want to be in a driving class with 16 year olds, or in a car with someone who only teaches kids. I don't know what car i'd practice on, since i don't live with my parents, and i don't want to take my friends up on their offer to let me practice in their cars, because of the aforementioned fear of sucking.
posted by Kololo at 9:11 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Similar personal history to fairytale of los angeles, minus the physical reasons for not driving... so only the social pressures, I guess. It rarely mattered while growing up in the DC suburbs and when attending college in Pittsburgh. I didn't feel particularly left out for most of my life because many of my peers who had licenses had little access to cars, so our lives didn't seem too different. I'm moving to San Francisco in a few months, where I intend to continue not to drive.

I can't find citations for it right now, but I seem to remember reading that some of my favorite literary figures (Vladimir Nabokov and David Sedaris) don't have driver's licenses, or at least couldn't drive for a significant portion of their adult lives. I don't know the reasoning, but their significant others would drive them around when necessary.
posted by scission at 9:18 PM on May 10, 2009

Wish I'd previewed, because I agree with Kololo's reasons for not getting a license thus far. Regarding inertia, since I'm fairly young and will be living in urban areas for the foreseeable future, walking / taking the bus / riding a bike on streets seems to be good enough.
posted by scission at 9:20 PM on May 10, 2009

Best answer: I was a non-driver until 25, mostly out of fear (to me at 16 and for many years after, cars were metal death machines first and transport second) and a touch of resentment, and I dealt with it by... becoming a driver. Not the answer I'd like to give, unfortunately. On top of that I now live in an area which requires me to drive and I resent it greatly but it's a means to an end at the moment. I ultimately opted to learn to drive because I simply felt too bad about not being able to contribute for myself in what is ultimately an auto-based culture in most parts of the country... people would do me favors, and there often wasn't a clear path for me to reciprocate in some non-driving way. I wouldn't say I got a lot of grief from people at all, but there was the lingering sense among some in my family that I should have learned, and I think I imagined a lot of grief on other people's parts that was damaging to me even if it didn't actually exist.

While I do drive now, I still harbor a lot of resentment towards driving and auto culture in the US in general. It's horribly wasteful. I love the urban environment (that's to say, a well-developed, dense and walkable city with some semblance of a metro system or at least light rail for longer distances) partly because it's the one populated environment in which The Driver isn't completely catered to. The environment I'm in right now (Columbus, Ohio) has been a wake-up call for me because I'm used to Boston where you can get by quite well without driving if you live close enough to the city. (People complain about the public transportation there, and not without reason, as the agency's a patronage haven with a lot of problems, but I think a good amount of the bellyaching is simply the time-honored New England tradition of complaining about anything and everything.)

I relish not having to drive when I go home. There are even times where it'd be faster or more "convenient" to drive, in some respect, but I love public transportation and the way it allows me to feel independent without having to deal with the anxiety that comes from being on the road. Driving is tiring. I admire you if you're able to pull off non-driving in a way that's equitable and works out for you (but the converse is not true: I certainly don't look down on people who give in and just learn to drive... after all, I did.) If you end up learning, give yourself plenty of space and patience. It takes a while to get used to it, but you eventually do. It took me a long time to get to the point where I felt comfortable on the highway... now I feel more comfortable on an interstate route than I do on a surface street in a suburb.
posted by Kosh at 9:20 PM on May 10, 2009

I was non-licened until 26, and a non-driver until 28. I've never wanted to own a car (still don't, though have thought about it a bit, or maybe getting a scooter) but environmental awareness and frugality and other good reasons for not being a car driver/owner were giving way to other spin-off emotions I didn't like: eg, when I really pondered the issue I found I was starting to think of myself as incapable of driving, thinking of myself as a bit less "adult" for it, and and other unproductive things like that. I find my ethics easier to espouse when I have a license and can drive if I want to but simply choose most of the time not to; there's not those same grey areas where I've begun to wonder if the decision's really all mine after all.

Also I think it's a good skill to possess even if you don't use it, for reasons others have mentioned. You say hearing affirmations from other non-drivers makes you feel "better" - suggesting you dont' feel entirely ok about your non-driverly status. Is some grey area like I mention nagging at you perhaps? I'd think if you were entirely confident about it that others' opinions shouldn't matter much. Maybe try and work out what's bothering you and settle it for once and for all?
posted by springbound at 9:30 PM on May 10, 2009

It's actually not as big a deal as you think. I'm 27, an American in Seoul, South Korea - a city and county where owning a car isn't even needed.

As for appropriate ID, you can either get a drivers license and never actually drive, or many states offer an ID card proving age and residency.

No worries about being a non-driver. If you get grief and your lifestyle doesn't require one to drive, emphasize savings on parking, gas, insurance, maintenance - all things I haven't missed since I stopped driving / owning a car over a year ago.
posted by chrisinseoul at 9:34 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yet, I find I get somewhat resentful of all the nondrivers in my life who are perfectly comfortable taking advantage of the fact that I own a car and can drive.

This. I've known people who don't have cars and yet don't have a problem with asking those of us who do to give them a lift. I don't mind giving someone a lift once in a while, but given that the costs associated with driving add up (insurance, the car itself, gas), the least they could do is offer to help out with gas or something.
posted by choochoo at 9:36 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just realized I didn't answer your question. I just meant to nth what Miko said about being aware of the etiquette implications toward your friends if you decide not to pursue the learning of driving.
posted by choochoo at 9:38 PM on May 10, 2009

I always feel weird about stating I have never obtained or even needed a driver's license in all of my 42 years of being on this asphalt-laden planet. I also have some anxiety about being a burden on friends and family with automobiles. But I keep in mind that friends will benefit in some way when you make that kind of request.

Here in downtown Toronto, I have a lifestyle that allows me access to everything I could desire within a 30 minute bike ride. Work is a pleasant 25 minute walk, and all of my friends and family are accessible by some form of transit.

Although some people are shocked to learn that I have never drove a car in my life (it's almost like claiming that you've never been kissed), when you explain the above points, their reaction usually switches from shock to awe. Awe, because they're amazed that a person could live such a bucolic lifestyle in the heart of the city.

The only thing I miss being able to do is travel without limitations. I would love to visit more remote locations. When I do travel, it's either with a driver journeying with me, or touring another city with a comparable transit system. I would love to have the ability to go on a spontaneous road trip or have a solo camping expedition.

To that end, I have been eyeing this for the past couple of years.

I keep in mind that skill sets are typically learned by necessity. If you have the need and desire to get that license, you should get it. Any kind of social stigma that is associated with the lack of possessing a driver's license can be deflected by explaining it's necessity in relation to your current lifestyle. The only reason I haven't gotten my license is because the need has not outweighed the potential cost of lessons, car payments, insurance, and stress of driving/parking in the city.

(My very first comment to Metafilter. I've got butterflies in the tummy)
posted by In The Annex at 9:40 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm in my mind 30's. Licensed since I was 16, but never owned a car. I still keep my license up to date because it's an occasionally invaluable thing to have/know how to do. (I drive maybe once every 18 months. But when I do there's really no other option. Big damn country with lousy public transit.)

No one's ever given me shit for it. I get an occasional "Really? That's amazing!" but they don't look at me like an alien. More often than not there's a certain admiration if there's any reaction at all.

But I don't define myself as a non-driver. I just like living downtown in big cities.
posted by Ookseer at 9:40 PM on May 10, 2009

That last time I drove was in university, a good 20 years ago, during driving lessons for the driving test I never bothered to take. Like a bunch of others above, I have lived my whole life in big cities with transit systems that made car ownership a pointless, expensive frippery.

And as I mentioned on the green just a few days ago, I do get grief from officials who deem a driver's license to be the one and only valid identification, and have been denied the opportunity to vote several elections now ( passport apparently not being goverment-issued photo ID). On one occasion, the official I was dealing with flat-out refused to believe that an adult did not have a license. Her incredulous question: "What do you show the police when they pull your car over?"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:57 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer:
I'm 19 and a non-driver; my mother is 55 and refers to herself as "one of life's pedestrians." She is terrified of driving, while I'm mostly lazy and haven't needed a license, though there is a large amount of fear and lack of depth perception on my part.

I took driver's ed classes, did the in-car portion, and even took (and failed) my driving test. I was lucky enough to live in a neighborhood in Cincinnati where most everything was in walking distance, and then after high school I moved to Chicago, where the public transportation is great.

Looking at my mom, though, I realize I'm probably going to have to learn how to drive at some point. Cincinnati has a crappy bus system and nothing else in the way of public transit, and so she has to rely on friends and family if she needs to get anywhere that the bus won't take her, and the thought of relying on other people like that makes me crazy.

As for being given grief, oh HELL yes. At every family gathering, an aunt or three will ask when I'm going to get my license. (They've given my mom up as a lost cause but think there's still hope for me.) My friends from high school are incredulous that I still don't drive. People are generally less kerfluffled if I tell them that I'm planning on getting my license at some nebulous point in the future than if I tell them that I'm not interested, FWIW.
posted by coppermoss at 9:57 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm going to play off your question a little and point out reasons why more people don't become non-drivers. Here in Eugene, OR, I often run into people who talk about driving a car like it's some sort of sinful personal choice. I kinda see how that works for cities like Eugene and am a fairly big fan of the bicycle myself, but many people have an actual, legitimate "need to learn/drive."

Many U.S. cities are designed so that it is nearly impossible to get around without a car. In some suburbs of Kansas City, I've driven for twenty or thirty minutes on roads with a 35 mph speed limit without seeing any services. No supermarkets, stores, gas stations, etc... just endless rows of houses. Oh, and no sidewalks either. Who needs those?

Also, the people least able to afford cars are often the people who require them the most. If you are poor and uneducated, you can afford to live in one part of the city, but most of the service sector jobs for which you qualify are far away in the wealthier part of the city. Several Midwestern cities have in recent years rejected light rail systems connecting poor, minority communities to city cultural centers (where there are many service jobs). Politicians and community activists from the wealthier parts of these cities have been pretty open with saying that crime is a major concern for them when considering such light rail systems, which to me seems like thinly veiled racism.

Many rural U.S. areas are not navigable without a car, in the sense that not only will it take forever to get somewhere, but services will be spaced at intervals that don't work for people on foot or bike, and the locals will make assumptions about you that will lead to you being treated very poorly. Bicyclists who aren't wearing expensive spandex and riding shiny road bikes will be pegged as either recently released felons with no money or people who lost their license via a DUI conviction. I rarely see people walking in the Midwestern countryside unless there is a broken down car nearby.

I hope this isn't too much of a derail. If there is a point in here that relates to your original question, it's that in many cases, not needing a car means that you have successfully avoided getting fucked over by the system. So don't feel any guilt.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 10:10 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

26 years old, non-driver and not fully licensed. I get away with it because my city has a good public transit system and my friends drive so I can bum a ride when we go out (I offer to pay for gas or buy them a drink once in a while to compensate).

I used to be completely unmotivated to get my license but the older I get, the more I feel the need to learn to drive, for all the reasons Miko has listed above. When my dad got cataract surgery, I felt bad that I couldn't offer to drive him to and from the hospital. My friends are cool with driving me places but it would be nice to give them a break once in a while. I'm also job searching and I have to screen jobs based on whether I can get there by public transportation.

Why haven't I learned yet? Even if I did drive, it would only be a few times a month so there's not a lot of motivation there. I'm also scared of my road skills. I have a terrible sense of direction and no feel for where major intersections, landmarks and highways are in relation to me. I also feel that I have no road sense. When I'm in a car and the driver comments on someone else's poor driving, I usually have no idea what they're referring to. I know that I will develop this road sense as I drive, but right now it's scary enough to keep me off the road.

My goal for this summer is to take some driving lessons and go for my next licensing test.
posted by Rora at 10:13 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm 23, got my license for the first time six months ago, and don't have a car.

I grew up in Chicago, started taking public transit when I was 14. Didn't get a license when I was 16 because I couldn't get my parents to sit down and do the mandatory 25 hours of driving with me. At the time, it honestly seemed more freeing to take the El everywhere instead of having to ask my parents for a car. Didn't really need a license in college. And now I live within walking distance of work and groceries, so. . .

I live in Minneapolis now, and despite having a decent public transportation system, I get a lot of strange looks when I explain why I don't have a car. Most of the people I work with grew up in either rural areas or suburbs, and simply can't imagine not living with a car. The combination of not owning a car, reading the New York Times, and some green tea cupcakes has given me something of a reputation for being a crazy uber-liberal in the office, but well. . . the office is pretty conservative anyway.

My boyfriend also doesn't drive (grew up in NYC), and occasionally gets teased for finding the only other person in the twin cities who doesn't have a car.

I haven't gotten a car yet because it hasn't gotten to the point where it's made economic sense for me to get one-I would never drive to work and can only see myself driving twice a month during the summer, maybe twice a week during the winter. There are drawbacks-standing outside waiting for the bus when it's -10 outside is no fun, I can't go camping, it limits where I can go, and I hate asking for rides. But as of right now, I can't imagine deciding to get a car without changing my job location. The most I'm likely to do is get a subscription from hourcar (a zipcar-like company in the twin cities), so I can have a car when I do need one.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:16 PM on May 10, 2009

Oh, by the way-I had a state ID before a license. People usually have to do a double take, but I've never had anyone not accept it.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:20 PM on May 10, 2009

Non-drivers of the world, unite...

There is one car per 11.3 people on earth; 'non-drivers of the world' are the vast majority. Realise that your feeling of being unusual is an artefact of living in an exceptionally car-obsessed culture.

I've never really felt the need to learn, and do fine with walking and public transportation...

So what exactly is the problem? I'm older than you and most of the other answerers. I learned to drive at a young age (I grew up in the country), but I've never owned a car because I've never needed one. I've never owned an aeroplane, boat or spaceship either and that causes me exactly the same amount of worry.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 10:21 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Don't drive, no license.

Started: laziness, and the feeling that I was too busy to learn right now (age 16).
Ongoing: took lessons aged 22. Instructor talked down to me as if I was a silly teenager, so I swapped to boyfriend's car, nearly crashed it, developed fear of doing it wrong.
Now: feel like I should learn in case of emergencies, but have decided that I'll never own my own car. However, I pay half of the registration, insurance and maintenance of my husband's car.

I'm used to walking and using public transport everywhere. It puzzles some people, who offer me lifts as though I'm going through some sort of hardship. But my friends and family all know that I'll accept a lift if we're going to the same place, but I won't ask for one. Except for once, when I needed to see a doctor quickly while my husband was overseas.

I would like to get a bike or maybe an electric bike though - the extra range would be nice.
posted by harriet vane at 10:28 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's better to have driven and refused it than to never have driven and wonder what it could be. I bought my first car in 1995 and sold it in 1998, and never bought another one. I still have my license, and I still drive occasionally, and I even enjoy it, but mostly I live without cars.

I would suggest you spend some time studying how much cars cost. They are much more expensive than you would expect. In fact, without a proper budget you would never realize just how expensive your own car was. Gas might cost 7 cents per kilometer, but adding the costs of maintenance, capital, interest, insurance, etc, brings the price to 40 - 50 cent per kilometer or more. When you give some gas money to a friend who gave you a lift, you are underpaying by a lot, and unless you compensate your friend has grounds to be annoyed.
posted by gmarceau at 10:32 PM on May 10, 2009

Me: 35 -- License, can drive, but only do once in a blue moon (last time is now over three years ago).

Started in an argument with my father. When I was 16, he told me I'd have to get a job so I could pay my part on the insurance for his car. I told him to shove it, and I'd just not get a license. (I'd already passed driver's ed.) I'm very stubborn.

When I needed an ID at 21, I decided I didn't want to have an ID card that wasn't a license--people looked at me like I might have had a DUI or something. So practiced up, got the license.

Not having a car enabled me to get through undergrad and grad school without taking out loans or getting jobs I didn't want. I walked, biked, took the bus when there was one, and had girls drive me places when there wasn't (not a bad deal). I always paid for gas and thanked profusely.

People look at me very confused when I tell them. I don't get much naked contempt, I get a little credit from the ecological sorts, but either way it's a clear mark on the eccentric scale. I've always lived in medium sized towns in the midwest and Texas, where public transit is very limited. Now I live across the street from where I work, so it is no trouble at all.
posted by LucretiusJones at 10:41 PM on May 10, 2009

I'm 24, and don't have a license. Several reasons
-resentment of car culture? I'd rather arrange my life to not need a car. When looking for a place to live I always prioritise public transport and walking access to shops. I get to zone out for half an hour on the bus between home and work, instead of blowing a fuse at the other drivers on the road.
-moving a lot. I didn't get around to it before I moved out of home at 18, and then I didn't know anyone I could learn with and couldn't afford to take lessons, and then I moved to America where you drive on the wrong side anyway.
-fear. I fall asleep on the bus/when a passenger all the time. Sometimes when I'm on my bike I notice that I've just been going along without paying attention. I imagine that actually being in control of a car would encourage me to pay attention...but would it?
-environmentalism/fitness: sometimes, it would be good to have a car, or even a licence. But if I did have one, I worry that I'd end up driving down the street for groceries instead of walking, and I think that it would have an overall negative impact on my life.
-I do get lifts from people; mostly to sports games, which always seem to be inconvenient. I carpool home from work sometimes, but that's more of a favour to them (they get to use the HOV lane). One of my friends has given up drinking, and made himself the designated driver every time we go out, but otherwise I would get taxis or buses. I get offered lifts occasionally by people who can't believe I'm actually ok walking the 15 blocks back to my house, or can't live with themselves letting a girl do that at night, and it can be easier to accept than argue sometimes. I am pretty conscious of getting lifts, but I might try and be more conscious.

I probably/might get a licence in the next few years (more likely if I stay in one place for a while). I wouldn't buy a car, but it would be useful to have the option of renting a car on holiday, or driving a friends car home from the airport for them, etc.
posted by jacalata at 11:40 PM on May 10, 2009

(I've had a license since I was 16, lusted after it then (and there was a need to get to/from after-school jobs), have driven in most all environments, to include countries that set world standards for accident rates, general on-road mayhem.)

I had a friend who grew up in an urban environment, lived there 'til late-20s, had no real motivation/need to drive 'til she moved to Silicon Valley. She did cruddy public transportation, long walks (in the rain and otherwise), mooching, er, getting rides from friends, etc., for a while and got fed up with it.

She is not the world's most focused, confident person, was scared when she set out on the road in her late-20s, but she built confidence by driving around parking lots when places were closed, getting up and on the road at times like 7 a.m. on Sundays. After a few months of picking her spots when she could, to drive when traffic was light, she was fine, to include motoring around SF, Philadelphia.

If you take the plunge, have it for emergencies, the occasional rental or zipcar use, an overwhelming likelihood that you'll quickly build confidence.

Sure, some drivers are scary and there are other vehicle risks; my sister fell asleep at the wheel, had an accident that was said to look like something out of a disaster movie, but there were no injuries. Some pedestrians are scary, too.
posted by ambient2 at 11:42 PM on May 10, 2009

31 and non-driver. I did get my license in my late teens but I let the license expire five years ago as I didn't have a car and hadn't driven in years.

I live in Vancouver, which has a great transit system in most city areas. I take a taxi a few times a year, and walk and cycle in nice weather. People offer me rides far more often than I ever ask for a ride.

The only thing that bothers me about not having a car is that I do need to get help if I want to go to Ikea or move anything heavy. However, it's nice not to have the expense, especially as I've been unemployed for most of this recession.
posted by sinderile at 12:11 AM on May 11, 2009

I will admit that I've skipped most of the reasons here. The ones I read at the beginning are great ones. If you are in the US and plan to have children, then you should plan to have at least one car for your household, depending on how you intend to take care of school issues.

If you don't plan to have kids, please disregard.

For the most part especially when I was single, I've done ok with our limited public transportation for getting to the school and then maybe the bus or a friend to get to a doctor. However, when my husband and I married, I've become a taxi service.

If you have kids, especially as they get older, being able to drive them here or there is MUCH more convenient. Even if it isn't more "convenient" to you personally. Better than my friends who don't have a car or a license at all.

Also, it's great for having a photo ID with age and all that.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:16 AM on May 11, 2009

I have a license and a car, although I loved living in the UK and being carless. Never had any problems. Good public transport is a hell of a thing. However, I would have had a hard time finding work in my chosen field without the ability to drive.

Lack of a license can be an obstacle to gaining employment in quite a few industries.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 12:28 AM on May 11, 2009

I knew a guy who was 80 and never learned to drive. Myself, I am 32 and have yet to get a driver's license, I moved to a city where I could get places by bicycle first chance I got. My dad tried to make the prospect of learning to drive / having a car some kind of carrot, and I opted out entirely (my sister made the same choice but finally learned to drive in her late 20s). I don't like being in cars or public transport because I don't like being in a vehicle I have no control over and sitting and watching someone else make potentially iffy traffic decisions. So I bike, alot (12 mile bike commute each way to and from work, 2 mile bike ride with a big backpack for groceries). Once every couple of months or so I may need someone to give me a ride (ie. to purchase or get rid of a large piece of furniture or audio equipment).
posted by idiopath at 12:58 AM on May 11, 2009

Native New Yorker here. No license, no current plans to learn. Cars are expensive in this city, and public transportation runs 24 hours a day and will get you most places within a decent amount of time. So I don't drive in large part because it's unnecessary and also expensive, but I'm also afraid to drive. I also don't like speed. Even as a passenger, I get a little uneasy if the driver goes above say, 35-40mph.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:42 AM on May 11, 2009

What a lot of personal histories. Does anyone read them all, except Secret Decoder?

Ok - heres mine.

I'm 68 and never had a driving license . Never wanted one and have an intense dislike of cars, car culture and the effect they have on our towns and countryside.

They kill more people than 9/11 attacks.
They bind us to dodgy Arab regimes.
They bind us to nefarious corporations.
They may even be the cause of wars etc etc
You get the rant?

Ok - but I live in Stockholm with an incredible public transport system. I bike, I walk too.
My wife drives and loves it and she rents one occasionally for getting to our summer house 600 kilometres away.

I'm still an oddity - even here.
Not that it bothers me.

An afterthought.
Why is it that in "american films" a major component is the crashing of cars?
posted by jan murray at 3:13 AM on May 11, 2009

I've got a license and know how to operate a car, and I'll nth the people saying it's a good skill to have in an emergency. But I don't own a car and don't want to. I'm also one of those who live in a city with okay-ish public transit. I don't use it though.

Wait, what? What? This is what. I'm in Beijing, so the models I use are different, but I swear to you these are very, very worth your consideration, and would turn the tables completely on people who don't understand your choice not to drive. The thing is, here, electrically powered vehicles below a certain power threshold are classed as bicycles, and don't require licensing. The Western world has a ridiculous patchwork of regulations about them, but you may live in a locale where they are also classed as bicycles (which means the only "insurance" you need is your health insurance"). The insurance is phenomenally cheap even if it's a motorcycle in your jurisdiction (the top speeds are nowhere near highway speed, which puts you in an ultra-low-risk category), the maintenance almost zero (although you do have to carry extra fuses, I go through a couple every month), there is no gas, they use as much power as half a refrigerator. The only downside is the batteries: I have to carry two 40lb. chunks of metal up and down stairs every day so I can charge them. The other fun thing is, cafes and offices don't seem to mind if you charge up while you conduct your business there. I go to work, make money, and then go home with a full tank. Perks. :)

For an urban area/>20 mile commute/bicycle jurisdiction, consider one of the smaller models. They're as fast as all city traffic, small, light, maneuverable, and have pedals in an emergency. I think you'll find you're more often the object of envy than odd looks from the drivers in your circle once they take a spin on your new toy.
posted by saysthis at 3:26 AM on May 11, 2009

The car is the standard means of transportation in our civilization. Not knowing how to drive is akin to not knowing how to read, and fundamentally incompatible with any sort of independence.

posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:56 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

After reading all the previous answers, with very few exceptions, all of the self-described non-drivers have one thing in common: they live in a major urban area. Most of them also don't seem to have a family.

So yeah, if you're single in a major US urban area, you probably don't need a car. I know I didn't. When I lived in New York City I left my car with family in PA.

But if you live in even a population center of less than a million, not having a car will be a serious inconvenience both to you and to those upon whom you rely for rides. Because you will rely on people, and unless you regularly offer to compensate those people somehow, they probably will and probably should feel resentful of your inconsiderateness. Though I'm still single, I now live in Indiana, and I assure you, not having a car would be a huge liability, as it would have where I grew up in Pennsylvania or went to school in Georgia/Tennessee.

All of that aside, you really should learn to drive even if you never own a car. It's one of the basic adult competencies of today's society, like how to iron a shirt or deal with utility companies. Whether or not you actually wind up driving on a regular basis isn't as important as the ability to do so when required.
posted by valkyryn at 3:56 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't buy any of the arguments based on "You would need it for these occasional situations," e.g. "I do feel I have a social obligation to have a valid license, like when the logistics of getting my mother to the airport or some such would suffer as a result of my elective inabilities." Even if you have a social obligation to help her get to the airport, you can accomplish this by calling a cab. You need to weigh the cab fare against the cost of having a car.

And the cost of having a car -- just the money you pay, not even counting other "costs" -- is huge. According to the book How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, someone considering buying a car should imagine that it's going to cost about twice what the price tag says. Price of car + insurance + registration + parking + gas + maintenance + repairs - depreciation, etc. (Of course, depreciation will be less if you buy a used car, but this raises other costs.)

BTW, you should definitely read that book. The whole thing is like an extended response to your question.

For those who are justifying having a car based on "emergencies," you need to balance that against the fact that cars kill the same number of people in America as if the 9/11 attacks were repeated each month, year after year. (Not including the wars it would lead to!) If my chance of killing someone with my car is greater than my chance of saving someone in an emergency, then it's not worth it. (And don't think it couldn't happen to you.) Of course, in an emergency, you call 911 and shouldn't have this problem.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:38 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Sorry, I should have said plus depreciation, not minus. Depreciation is subtracted from the value, of course.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:53 AM on May 11, 2009

I held of getting a license for a long time. The reasons were numerous, and most of them have been covered before: I lived in a major city with very decent public transportation (in Europe, no less), I could always take a cab, getting a license over here is a huge PITA, I had friends with cars, etc. It was actually during a trip to Stockholm that I decided I had to get a license. My friend and I were driving around the archipelago and I thought, "I have to come back and photograph this!". Then I started to wonder how I would actually get there at 2-3am in the morning with a lot (volume-wise) of camera gear. I came home and called a driving school the next day, 3 months shy of my 29th birthday.

I regret not getting it 10 years earlier, the first time I took a driving course (skipped the exam though). Other than caring for the actual car itself, I like all aspects of driving - even traffic jams. Two weeks ago I stood near a pond in a forest about 10km from where I live, waiting for the sun to rise. To get there by public transportation would have meant leaving the night before. As it was, I got up 30 minutes before I needed to be there and came home with enough time to catch another two hours of sleep before I needed to get up.
posted by jedrek at 4:55 AM on May 11, 2009

Another self-correction: I should have said cars kill significantly less than the number of people in America as if the 9/11 attacks were repeated each month, year after year. If the 9/11 attacks happened 12 times a year, that would be slightly less than 3,000*12 = a bit under 36,000 deaths. Cars kill well over 40,000 people a year in the US.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:56 AM on May 11, 2009

Being a non-driver is great if you can get away with it *and not rely on people*, but I know that a lot of people get their license just in case there's an emergency or something, which makes total sense to me. That's the reasoning we're using on my younger brother to push him to get his license - if something happens to grandma and she needs something, anything, he damn well better be able to drive.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 5:17 AM on May 11, 2009

CautionToTheWind: American life != "civilisation".

I don't have a car, I don't have a license. The one time I actually had *time* to learn, I had accident anxiety. Then I travelled, moved to Australia - and by that point, I didn't have the time or money to learn. As it is, when I got there the Queensland government decided that all learners under 25 must get at least 100 hours of driving experience (70 of which can be obtained through driving lessons). Again, no time no money.

Brisbane has pretty decent public transport, and most of my activities are centralised, so it doesn't affect my ability to get around and do things. However, what really annoys me is that there are SO MANY jobs that I have lost out on (especially now when there are 10 applicants for every job) because I don't have a license. A lot of times the license wouldn't make a difference in my ability to do the job; it's not like the job intrinsically required driving. But it creates a major barrier for people like me who don't necessarily have all the resources to get something we'd hardly ever use, especially with the 100-hour barrier!
posted by divabat at 5:25 AM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: I learned to drive this year. I'm 34. This was a big, big deal for me.

The first couple of months of it were terrifying and I was often near tears behind the wheel. Turns out that if you push past that, it gets easy.

I moved to the sticks two years ago, but that wasn't even the primary motivation. I now have a daughter, and I suddenly found myself humiliated by the lack of what's a basic skill for adults in this society. My mother doesn't drive, and I don't think that helped as far as my not learning (and for a long time, believing I never would). I didn't want her to grow up seeing her mother be so dependent on others, being this girl.

Learning to drive has been a tremendous self-confidence boost. At some point zooming along a country road I had a little epiphany and now I think I might like to learn to fly. I definitely want to learn to drive a standard, at least. But flying seems totally within my grasp, not something I would've thought before pushing myself to learn to drive.

I am pretty angry with myself for the years of dependency on others and missed opportunity -- I am a big fan of the weekend road trip, so why the hell wasn't I going by myself instead of waiting for others to invite me along? -- and relieved I finally clued in and learned. There's nothing to be proud of as far as not having a license goes.
posted by kmennie at 5:28 AM on May 11, 2009 [4 favorites]

I've had my license from 17, and am now 23, car-less with no plans to get one in the forseeable future. I drive my parents' car when I'm home visiting - running errands, or getting places. They live in a 20,000 person community which is too rugged for an airport and with shitty roads. A car is needed here. I've lived in university settings where it's not needed, and in a 100k community where I managed with a good bike, but it was a conscious decision there, I did not feel as if I wasn't missing out by having no car.

More importantly - when I travel, I can rent a car. I can drive shifts with people on long trips. I don't know how I'd manage to go hiking in various back-country areas without a car at my disposal. If you're content to stay in the big population centres, you won't need a car. But you're cutting off a lot of possible life experiences.

Anecdote: My sister's boyfriend is 27-ish and currently learning to drive. Because come this fall they are moving to Ethiopia for 2 years, and I gather that they absolutely positively require a car while they're there.

Having a car is not really necessary. The ability to drive a car is.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:46 AM on May 11, 2009

I live in a big city and didn't learn to drive until I was in my mid twenties. I got a job I really wanted, and when we set my start date, I was told they'd need a copy of my license as occasional driving was a prerequisite. I had 10 days to learn.

When driver's ed had been offered at school, I was too young (a year ahead of myself), and fear and inertia had kept me from trying. In retrospect, I can see that I was just a passenger at that point in my life - too passive, accepting what came my way. Being a driver made positive changes in my life. I bought a cheap car and started exploring.

Now driving cross country is one of my favorite things to do. To quote Steve Earle, "Love to hear the steel belts humming on the asphalt."
posted by readery at 6:27 AM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: But does anyone else get a lot of grief for being a grown non-driver?

I'm a licensed driver who likes public transportation and walking and I get grief. It's unreal.

Where I work, a grocery store and various restaurants are a ten minute walk away, so I usually walk to lunch. Yet co-workers constantly ask me if everything is ok when they see me walking. One even went so far as to offer to let me borrow his car to go lunch!

I live about 2 miles from work, so sometimes I catch the bus or have the wife drop me off and walk home. You'd think something was majorly wrong with me, judging my co-workers reactions. I'll say "I'm working home" and you can literally see gears grinding in their heads as they try to compute this strange piece of info: "Wait, he has a car, he can drive, but he's walking. But he has a car. Yet he's walking. But he could drive...but he's walking...ERROR SYSTEM OVERLOAD." This is their issue and they can work it out however the like.

I love walking home, as long as the weather is good. It's made me intimately familiar with my neighborhood, it's good exercise and there's something relaxing about walking off the stress of work. When I lived in Baltimore, spending 45 minutes on the Light Rail to go to work was FUCKING AWESOME. I got so much reading down, it was ridiculous.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

21, non driver. I never got my license because I get panic attacks when I try and drive. I manage fine. I have my work schedule fixed so that I work right before my boyfriend does, he just takes me to work on his way. I am within walking distance of a grocery store, post office, goodwill, lots of restaurants, and my local gaming store.

The public transportation sucks here, but if i ever really need to get somewhere, there is a bus stop right outside my apartment complex. If we ever move to somewhere less convenient I will probably have to get my license but right now things are great.

My family and my fiancee's family give me crap all the time, but we live in Florida and they live in Ohio, so I don't have to hear it too often.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 6:48 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mr. dancinglamb doesn't drive (he's 44). More precisely, he has a license, but has never really used it. He's a born and bred NY'er and never had the need for a car. I grew up in NJ and learned to drive at 16 (I'm 38).

When we moved to the 'burbs five years ago, he took lessons to refresh himself, but it never really went farther than there. I think we went out 'as a family' with him driving exactly one time. And it probably aged me about five years.

Most of the time, I'm OK with being the only driver. But it's times when I'm the only one that can go pick up the kids, or have to go to the store, or pick up groceries, or run to the pharmacy, or the doctor that it's been an issue. I'm worried about what happens when I'm sick. I've had major ankle surgery twice and have driven with my left foot in a cast for months. I broke my right ankle and wasn't able to have it in a cast because I was the only person in the house that drove. I had two c-sections and needed to get it together and feel better enough to drive, otherwise we weren't going to the pediatrician or going grocery shopping.

Still, at this point, I don't think that I would feel comfortable having a new driver (which is what he essentially would be) drive a 6 and 4 year old around while they fight like cats and dogs in the back seat. Hell, I've been driving for over 20 years and they're a distraction to ME. Add in the craziness of NJ drivers and, well, that's just a recipe for disaster.

So, yeah, I tease him about it. Sometimes mercilessly. But, I'd rather have my family all in one piece. ;)
posted by dancinglamb at 6:50 AM on May 11, 2009

If you are terrified of driving and/or lack some of the skills crucial to being any good at it (depth perception, hand-eye coordination, vision, attention span, good judgment, etc.), you should not learn to drive. The reason there are so many car accidents is that a lot of people who aren't any good at driving feel pressure (economic, social, practical) to get behind the wheel, putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.

I, for example, can't tell right from left. I've never been able to. I've driven a car several times, and I can't tell the gas from the brake, which makes me a huge hazard behind the wheel. I will not risk my own life or the lives of others by putting myself in control of a car on the open road.

While I understand that my inability to drive makes some people believe that I haven't mastered a "basic adult competency" or that I'm somehow not pulling my weight, I'm not going to let peer pressure make me into a danger to others.

It is never necessary to do something that makes you a serious hazard to human life.
posted by decathecting at 6:57 AM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: 27 and I've never driven. I'm fairly certain I would have killed someone otherwise.

I have lived in urban, suburban and regional areas over that time. I would agree that living out of cities is difficult to do when you don't drive, but it's not impossible. Being willing to walk long distances helps.

It takes me about an hour to commute to work, and about an hour and a half back, purely because of some shocking transfer timings. I read a lot during that time, I write, I've seen people gaming on their laptops and doing work on the bus. It's an hour of time just for me; if I drove it would only be a quarter of that, maybe half an hour, but it would pretty much be lost time. I get to unwind after work and get home refreshed and feeling human. I never have to deal with peak hour traffic, parking, registration, all that hassle. All I need is some coins in my pocket and the world is mine.

Cost is another major factor. I work in the city heart and fuel costs and parking would be worth more than my daily bus fare.

My boyfriend drives but I try my damndest not to be a burden. When we do spend time in the car together I always make sure I give him an excessive amount for fuel. But it's really rare, and usually I'll get a cab before hitting him up for a lift. I've never hit anyone up for help moving (because man, hiring movers is worth it just for the bit where you don't have to do any heavy lifting!), I use a nana cart for my groceries or get a cab home, my doctor is walking distance. Drivers will only resent you if you make an ass of yourself. They are not obligated to drive you anywhere.

I wonder a little about all the people who cite maintaining their independance as a major reason for driving. Being reliant on a large, dirty, expensive machine is a strange sort of independance. I'll take walking over that any day.
posted by Jilder at 7:43 AM on May 11, 2009

25 and never driven. I guess my primary reason would be one of trauma. The first car I remember being in was involved in a car crash. But then this doesn't make sense because it didn't hinder me from traveling in cars.

The secondary reason like people mention is probably inertia. Somewhere in my past I forgot to jump onto the learn-to-drive bandwagon and here I am. I've made myself so comfortable living without a car: live right next to shopping,bars and work so that learning to drive is an unnecessary hassle at this point. Also, I think I'm afraid of driving now.

I get constant grief from my parents and brother, who casually deride me and mention the only reason for them not visting me is me lacking the ability to drive and show them around. If I do learn to drive it will be out of this parental pressure foremost.

There are some times, however, I feel like I'm moored to my immediate neighbourhood since I live in the suburbs. Occasionally, I think about how awesome would it be to be able to get in your car on an idle Sunday and just go for a drive nowhere with my favourite music playing. Or to go to a different grocery store, or go to the city without having to conceive a minor battle plan the night before
posted by prufrock at 8:11 AM on May 11, 2009

I never got my license, mostly because I left home for university at 17 and so I didn't have access to a car to practice driving. Then Ontario introduced graduating licensing, making it even harder to get a license without being a teenager living at home. I lived in a major city for several years, where I barely missed having a car except when I wanted to go to Ikea. Now I live in a medium-sized city with a decent transit system. I do regret not having a car once in a while, such as when a great band is playing in Toronto (>1 hour away) and there's no public transit that would get me home after the show.

My grandiose idea about non-car ownership is that if I took all the money I would spend on owning a car, and put it into a 'taxi' fund, I could easily get anywhere I wanted to go with a bus pass and cab fare. For instance, I could take a cab back from Toronto for $150. Strangely, I won't do that, but if I did own a car I would end up spending far more than that in one month. So there's a few things I'd like to do that I don't, but I do save a lot of money.

I used to get a lot of flack for not owning a car, but this seems to have completely stopped over the last few years, between epic gas prices, and the current fad for paying lip service to the environment. People used to be incredulous that I didn't drive, now they are impressed.
posted by Gortuk at 8:14 AM on May 11, 2009

Most big cities have legions of non-car people. If you are in such a place I don't see how the question would ever pop up. There are people who associate class with having a car but they aren't the people I tend to converse with. I don't see the need to have a daily affirmation over not using a car. You do what you do.
posted by JJ86 at 8:24 AM on May 11, 2009

I believe Scott Simon is another NPR-host-non-driver, by the way.

Having traveled extensively in the US both with and without a car, I just wanted to add that about 50% of the claim that you need a car in less urban and/or less coastal places is just a lack of imagination, as far as I can tell.

If you insist on being able to go wherever you want whenever you want, with no flexibility or willingness to plan or wait, then, yes, you'll need one. But I get the sense that most people, even the people who live there, would be amazed at how well you can travel around some "car-dependent" parts of the US if you're willing to study bus schedules, take buses (the horror!), use some of the more obscure Amtrak services, walk two or three miles now and then, and take the occasional taxi. And that's all before you start making demands on car-owning friends.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:56 AM on May 11, 2009

I get a ton of grief from my family for not having a license/car. Main reason why I did not initially get my license: I was going to school on Manhattan and felt little need to get it, because I planned on living in the city for years and years.

Unfortunately, long-terms plans sometimes go awry. So here I am, back in Jersey. I get by by walking to the bank, using NJ Transit trains, and ordering groceries through a service like Peapod or catching a ride with roommates.

Why haven't I learned to drive in the... 3 years I've been back in this little ol' state? Anxiety! Whee! I am scared I will be a bad driver, though previous attempts suggest I might not be as bad as I think.

While I might normally sit back and say, "I can rely on others to get me to places I can't," I've recently begun to think that learning to drive might actually lessen my anxiety. Most of my fears stem from not being in control, or not being able to leave a situation when I feel panicky. If someone else provides the transportation, I am essentially stuck there unless they want to cater to my needs.

I plan on getting my permit within the next two weeks. I wonder if my theory will work. Stay tuned!
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:03 AM on May 11, 2009

I think only one person has mentioned it in passing, but employment is sometimes contingent on having a driver's license, even in industries where you wouldn't expect it. I'm a librarian. My current employer requires a driver's license -- no license = no hire. I remember thinking, when I applied for the job, good thing I finally got my license or I would have missed this opportunity.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:31 AM on May 11, 2009

I'm slowly re-learning to drive after not having driven post-high school because I lived in a major urban center. I want to be able to share the driving with my wife when we do errands or go on long trips.
posted by canine epigram at 9:43 AM on May 11, 2009


I had to lie about being able to drive in order to get my current job. Eventually we worked it out, and the boss forgot he had even asked me the question in the interview, but I was paranoid for the first month about being found out. I've dismissed potential jobs in my head because I know my lack of a car would be a problem.

If you're a musician, there ain't no way on earth you're getting a speaker or drum kit on the back of your bike.

I warned my boyfriend up front; we are always going to live in cities, and if he wants to move to the 'burbs, he's going alone. I grew up as a non-driver in the sticks, and it sucked. We currently live in Columbus (moderately good public transport) and are moving to Chicago (excellent public transport).

No one likes driving people to/from the airport.


You never have to be DD!!! (malicious, drunken cackle)

Honestly, the online shipping you pay on little things is worth it. I pay $4 to have my hair dye delivered to my door. If I took the bus across town to our only decent beauty supply store it would take a significant chunk of my day off and cost $1.50-$3 in bus fare. Not to mention however much it costs to maintain a car and drive it there.

I joke a lot that if I got a car I'd instantly gain 20 pounds. I LOATHE exercise, as in setting out to do some physical activity just because you should. However, I walk quite a bit incidentally, and manage to stay in decent shape because of it.

I'm young, and don't make a crazy amount of money. I find I have a lot more money to spend on silly things like clothing, food, and beer than my friends who have similar jobs and cars. Also, I have savings. Really! Money I managed not to spend!

You get to know neighborhoods much more intimately, since you're not just driving down the same major street over and over again.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2009

divabat: "our civilization" != "civilisation".

Also i am not american nor have i ever visited.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2009

The car is the standard means of transportation in our civilization. Not knowing how to drive is akin to not knowing how to read, and fundamentally incompatible with any sort of independence.

I find it entirely compatible with independence from car payments, insurance premiums, and having my mobility dictated by fluctuations in the price of crude oil. Also independence from traffic, road closures, overpriced parking, contributing to air pollution, and about a hundred other things that beset the nominally independent driver.

Your mileage (hah) may vary.

I find a car something like a photocopier. I am glad that I have access to one for certain specialized tasks, but I feel no need to own one or even think much about them in general.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:47 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

ricochet biscuit: My point is not about owning a car, but knowing how to drive one. You trade the independecies you list for dependency on public transportation or friends' cars/driving to get to where you need to be. The cost of either public transport and friends' cars also depends on the cost of the vehicles, the insurance premiums and the price of energy.

Your analogy with he photocopier is quite interesting. I also don't feel the need to own a photocopier, but i sure am glad i know how to use one (in a very basic way, in my personal case).
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:16 AM on May 11, 2009

One thing that I don't think anyone has brought up is that your ability to get around on foot, bike, or public transit could change suddenly, and it might be a good idea to know how to drive so you're prepared for that situation.

A year and half ago I missed the last step on the stairs at my house and severely sprained my ankle. In a second I went from someone who could walk several miles easily to someone who could manage a few blocks slowly, and with a considerable amount of pain. I couldn't manage hills or uneven surfaces at all for months. And I needed to go to a lot of doctor's appointments and physical therapy appointments. I'm really glad that I knew how to drive and had access to a car, because getting around solely through public transit/walking, even in my transit-friendly city, would have been really difficult.
posted by creepygirl at 11:57 AM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: (OK, deep breath...) Pushing 40. Never driven more than a kilometer (that was one time and one time only, and I threw up immediately after). I expect to die unlicensed.

I am treated like a second-class citizen because I don't know how to drive.

I grew up in and around a big city (San Francisco) where a car is a liability and not an asset. No parking, expensive insurance, stress factor, etc. I moved to a city with one of the best public transportation systems in the country (Portland, Oregon).

It's really easy if you let it be. I live about a kilometer from shopping and a transit hub. It takes me 15 minutes to walk if I'm taking my sweet time. I don't buy more than I can carry. For everything else there's delivery.

It can be a hassle sometimes and takes longer to do some things than driving would, but the savings in cost and stress far outweigh the convenience. Having the ability would be useful in a few situations (emergencies, etc) but I can count those occasions over the course of four decades on one hand. It's usually only when I'm on the road that I have trouble (Many of the places where my hotel ends up being don't have sidewalks. One time I was in Tennessee, across the street from a big mall and lots of restaurants and things but I physically couldn't get there without walking through the intersection).

The pressure is often intense; people just can't fathom that I don't know how to drive. They want to assume I have a license but just don't use it. When it finally sinks in that I actually do not know how to drive, it usually results in offers to teach me and backhanded assurances that it's really easy! (like the reason' is that I'm too stupid to know.)

The car is the standard means of transportation in our civilization. Not knowing how to drive is akin to not knowing how to read, and fundamentally incompatible with any sort of independence.

Now, not to single out a specific user here, but this is case in point. This is the utter fucking bullshit that I have to deal with on a regular basis. Maybe it's incompatible for you, sparky but I am completely independent, thank you very much. Actually voted "most independent" in school, no lie. The myth that I have to rely on other people to function in life (even mentioned a few times in this thread) is simply not true. It was the single biggest cause of argument between me and my ex (but that's another story).

Here's how it works; if I need to drive to get there, I don't go. Simple. If it's somewhere I really want to go, I'll try to find someone who's going there anyway. I never call someone to ask them for a ride somewhere just because I want to go. I made this choice, and not going to some places is the tradeoff.
posted by geckoinpdx at 12:26 PM on May 11, 2009 [6 favorites]

Interested by all the 'hardly ever drive but got my licence years ago for emergencies' people: if you don't drive for months, years at a time...do you consider yourself a safe driver the next time you get behind a wheel?
posted by reynir at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2009

In a second I went from someone who could walk several miles easily to someone who could manage a few blocks slowly, and with a considerable amount of pain.

The times I've been injured in a way that severely impacted my ability to get around, I would have been unable to drive anyway. Twisted ankle unable to bear weight, takes me ten minutes to get to the busstop down the street on crutches? Broken hand? Too sick and dizzy to catch a bus home from hospital after an operation? I'd pay through the nose for a taxi before driving myself around in those situations even if I did have a car.

Not knowing how to drive is akin to not knowing how to read, and fundamentally incompatible with any sort of independence.

My siblings think they are 'more independant' than me because they can all drive. Even though I moved out of home at 17 and got myself around using pt and taxis in various cities and countries, and they were all still at home until 23-25, driving a car bought and maintained with parental money, chucking a fit when Mum decided they couldn't take her work car down to the beach for a day. Driving is not independance. Relying on yourself is independance.
posted by jacalata at 1:06 PM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

I learned to drive as a teenager and held a 'learner's license' in Alberta.
Never got a driver's license, largely due to a dispute with my parents over insurance
17 years later I still do not have a license.

I have cycled through Alberta & BC winters, taken transit, exercised my time management and forward planning skills and taken the occasional taxi.

You can take a shit load of taxis for the price of gas, insurance, parking, maintenance & vehicle amortization.
posted by mce at 1:09 PM on May 11, 2009

ricochet biscuit: My point is not about owning a car, but knowing how to drive one. You trade the independecies you list for dependency on public transportation or friends' cars/driving to get to where you need to be. The cost of either public transport and friends' cars also depends on the cost of the vehicles, the insurance premiums and the price of energy.

Where I need to be is where I am.

When I travel long distances, it is by train or plane, and the cost of these things will vary somewhat by price of energy but very little else. And on the smaller scale, I have gone to some trouble to live someplace highly walkable: within 100 steps of my front door I have three good restaurants, a pool, a gym, my bank, a camera supply store, two convenience stores, a used bookstore, a used CD/DVD store and my workplace (as well as access to at least six transit routes). Another 100 steps beyond that adds my local grocery and probably six more restaurants and a dozen or fifteen shops, and at a guess three or four more transit lines. Adding a car to my life would improve it not at all and be a huge financial burden. In some ways, I find there are fringe benefits: I buy groceries two or three times a week, so the food in my fridge is generally fresher than it would be if I did this biweekly. Please do not make the common error of conflating your dependence on a car with independence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:21 PM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

I want to echo reynir's question, and I intend on asking it from now on when I get flack from people who drive. I've ridden with enough terrible drivers that I don't trust people who say that anyone can get a license and know enough to drive safely by driving occasionally. Those skills are built from practice, and for me, the benefit of driving is far outweighed by the initial cost of lessons combined with all the necessary practice.

(That said, I own a bike and ride it on the road sometimes... so I think part of my worry must be that I will injure someone else by crashing a car, whether by colliding with them or because they are my passenger.)
posted by scission at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2009

Nondriver, age 31, in a certain small college town in NorCal here. I do not drive because my parents insisted on being "legal" and not having me drive until I was 16 and paying for the official legal class. Little did I know that most people teach their kids long before that, the teacher had no idea what to do with me other than scream, and I now panic behind the wheel. At this point I can handle a car as long as I'm not hitting the gas at all and if no other human beings are around me while I drive. Hah.

The ONLY way I can be a nondriver is if I live here. Or if I moved to SF, or a certain area of Sacramento. Otherwise it is just not doable in California, or as far as I can tell, anywhere that isn't a giant city on the East Coast. It's pretty limiting and ridiculous, which I cannot deny. I picked my apartment location because it's not only by a bus line and a grocery store, but I could walk to my job if I had to. (God help me if I lose it, 'cause I can't drive to another job.) Thank goodness the bus system is good here as long as it isn't a weekend. I probably pay more in rent than I could if I lived on the fringe of town near nothing, but it's worth it for the daily convenience. I am very limited in how I travel because you guessed it, a lot of the time public transport doesn't go where I need to go at non-8-5 hours, or attracts a bad clientele, or I can get to the town on a train/BART but I can't get anywhere in the town without a ride. I have meetings twice a month in Sacramento that I have to get rides to and I've had so many issues trying to line a regular one up that I keep pondering quitting the group out of sheer rider burnout. I can't move out of this town without a license and a car, and I would not be able to drive only once in a while if I moved, either.

I am well aware of how lame I am and many people tell me this. Often. CautionToTheWind is not at all wrong. YOU HAVE TO DRIVE AND IT IS MANDATORY HERE. I am constantly shooting myself in the foot in life because I don't drive, y'know?

I have my permit, once again, but I highly doubt I'll get my license before it expires. I've had many expired permits because there's something about me getting my permit that makes my opportunities for driving go away. Or I scare the shit out of whoever was willing to teach me. Since paying for professional help is why I have a driving phobia in the first place, I don't want to take official lessons again, and I tend to scare the shit out of friends and family. So it is a huge problem that I have yet to figure out how to solve, and people get really mad if I ask for tranquilizers while driving :P

I'm surprised at y'all with ID issues. I have a CA ID and nobody has ever given me crap for it, it's always been treated like an equivalent DL. I've only had to use the passport when the DMV hadn't gotten around to sending me the new ID card in time for a flight.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:42 PM on May 11, 2009

Wow all the posts about this! I can't wait until the day I don't have to drive. People laugh at me when I say that when I get into my 70's and 80's that I'm going to have my own driver- they ask why would you do that? I only drive because I have to- were I live in Southern California, the bus system is awful- it would take me all day to make a trip to the grocery store and I don't live far from one- but to far to walk. I just spent a few days in New York City and loved it- I would never own a car in a place were public transportation is so available and convenient. So hats off to you and don't think twice about what you think people are thinking of you .. you are the smart one!
posted by Chele66 at 5:38 PM on May 11, 2009

All the non-drivers I know are terrible mooches (and I say this even though I live in a reasonably-sized city with decent public transportation) - if you really don't want to drive, that's fine, but don't expect other people to be happy to drive you around all the time (literally every single non-driver friend of mine has had this problem, but I suppose it's possible that you won't).
When I first moved into the city, I left my car behind in the suburbs with my parents, and would pick it up only occasionally for long road trips. For the most part this worked out fine. I finally had to take my car back when I had a job that took me beyond the reaches (and often later than the hours) of public transportation. Having a car makes a lot of things easier - visiting people who (unfortunately) live in the 'burbs, buying the best (rather than just the closest) groceries, going to the airport, transporting large objects, etc., and even if you don't personally want/need to own a car, driving a nice skill to have in case of emergencies, trips where you need to rent a car, taking turns on a road trip, etc. Where's the harm in learning?
posted by naoko at 7:27 PM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: I'm in my twenties, and I have never had a license. I have no plans of ever learning to drive, much to the chagrin of my family. Mostly because I'm terrified. The few times I drove, I had a few close calls (without making it out onto a street, even). I just don't want to contend with all of the bad drivers in my area: all the people in their huge SUVs paying more attention to their kids in the backseat, their dog in their lap, their cellphone and those text messages they have to return right away, and the errant eyebrow hairs that they just noticed. Even now, the thought of being behind the wheel quickens my pulse. I'm also really short, and I really couldn't get my seat in a position where I was comfortable and able to reach the accelerator/brake. That didn't make me feel secure, and I wouldn't feel secure knowing that other drivers can't see or react normally because of their seating position.

I do get A LOT of grief for not driving, though. And it makes me feel guilty. I live with my Mom in the suburbs, and driving is a necessity. My Mom's mobility is becoming more and more limited, but I rely on her to take me to the different places to complete her chores for her. I know she would prefer if I would just go out and do the shopping, banking, etc. without involving her. I feel bad enough about that. Also, I worry about getting her to the doctor, etc. if her health should suddenly take a turn for the worse. The one thing I will say is that I don't have her chauffeur me around (I do NOT mooch off of her or any friends, so all non-drivers are NOT moochers, thank you very much)! I feel way too guilty to ask her to drive me somewhere so I can be alone for a while. So, it's just chores three times a week and that's it for leaving the house. Luckily, I don't think you have to be a shut-in if you live in a city.

Ideally, I would love to live in a city where I could rely on walking and public transportation, and I think that was always my plan so I didn't think learning to drive was that imperative. Absolutely, it's too much bother getting a car, worrying about something happening to it, paying for insurance and the awful gas prices, finding/paying for parking. And the air pollution! I admire people who walk, use public transport, bikes, or carpool. People who do should NOT allow themselves to be bullied (but, obviously, keep safe no matter how you transport yourself)!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:49 PM on May 11, 2009

It can be a hassle sometimes and takes longer to do some things than driving would, but the savings in cost and stress far outweigh the convenience.

I completely agree. I love being car-free. I feel fortunate to be able to live this way. I do know how to drive (automatic or manual shift) and drove regularly for 20 years, so I could do so again if I wanted. But I have neither the need nor the desire. If that ever changes, I'll re-evaluate.

I'm 41, single, no kids by choice. I chose to live in Portland, OR, because it's one of very few cities in the USA where I can live quite well without a car. Admittedly, I do spend a great deal of time doing things like hauling groceries uphill in the pouring rain, which is certainly no picnic. But every time I feel like complaining, I remind myself of all the benefits of not owning a car, such as avoiding traffic congestion, irate drivers, parking, registration, insurance, licensing, repairs, maintenance, gasoline, etc.

Every dollar I spend on a car means one more dollar I must earn. (Actually, more than one dollar, since I would have to spend after-tax dollars on a car). That translates - in my case, at least - to spending more time in paid employment. So by not spending money on a car, I am indirectly freeing up more of my time. Having large chunks of unstructured time for creative projects is a very high priority for me - much higher than owning a car. Living this way brings me such great joy that I'm happy to accept the occasional trade-offs.

I've had a couple of folks express concern about my long-term independence or ask what I would do in an emergency without a car, but I haven't faced the kind of social pressure that geckoinpdx describes.

if I need to drive to get there, I don't go. Simple. If it's somewhere I really want to go, I'll try to find someone who's going there anyway. I never call someone to ask them for a ride somewhere just because I want to go. I made this choice, and not going to some places is the tradeoff.

Exactly. I never take advantage of my friends by expecting them to drive me around. Occasionally a car-enabled friend generously offers to take me grocery shopping along with them, and I accept - and then promptly take them out to lunch or chip in for fuel.
posted by velvet winter at 1:25 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yikes, I was floored to see this many responses. It's good to know that I'm not alone. I haven't yet read everyone's personal history, but I'm gonna try.

I actually do concede that just knowing how to drive is certainly something that everyone who's qualified to do so should. The "inertia" comment given by many certainly applies to me. And I myself only really get grief from my parents. But I'd probably get a lot more if I voluntarily told everyone else that I never even got a license. (I've thought about claiming that mine was revoked due to speeding on the freeway, y'know, to seem more "badass.")

Along with the same fears of losing focus while driving, I'm a fairly subservient type of guy, so I feel like I'd be a bit too defensive a driver, and would probably keep letting other cars pass by before I turn on an intersection, much to the chagrin of the line of cars behind me. And it's one thing to make a mistake in everyday life, but it's another when that mistake leads to ticking someone off because you could've killed him or ruined his car.

And while I can't be a designated driver, I'm not much of a drinker either. Yet another adult activity I need to take up. More root beer, please.

(PS. In the Annex: if you think your first comment gives you butterflies, try your first question. I still get a bit nervous as to what kind of reaction my questions will get, but I was pleasantly surprised here.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:35 AM on May 12, 2009

Response by poster: Oh, and family. Yeah, if I found myself about to have kids, that'd be more than enough reason for me to get a license. But even just settling down with someone would be compelling enough, if only to spare her the embarrassment.

And as someone who listens to his mp3 player while on the bus, I'd probably force myself to leave the radio off or on the classical station while driving to minimize distractions. How people can listen to audiobooks while driving, I'll never know.

Thanks all for the responses so far. "Best answers" still to come.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:40 AM on May 12, 2009

ricochet biscuit: "Where I need to be is where I am."

geckoinpdx: "if I need to drive to get there, I don't go."

I rest my case.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:01 AM on May 12, 2009

Hi! I am an American and I live in Scotland. I don't drive, don't want to, and so do a lot of people. The public transport in major cities is generally good, and cars are expensive, have high fees and expensive petrol, and the drivers' test is incredibly hard. People have to take it five and six times to pass! People with cars offer rides and people offer money; there are lots of cabs, and buses, trains and underground run pretty much on time. People with multiple kids and dogs get by perfectly well without cars, and citizens demand that their cities work well for the carless.

Neighbourhoods, here, by the way, seem to have stronger identities than the ones in America, as a side benefit.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:06 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Chiming in a little belatedly...

I'm 38, got my license at 17, and spent many years putting a lot of miles on the car, in a lot of different situations. Two-lane highways between orchards and fields, so watch out for slow tractors turning onto the road, and don't go so fast you can't stop if you see a front-yard fruit stand that looks good (most of which were run on the honor system of "put a dollar in the can for each bag of kiwis you take"). Mountain driving through the Sierras and the Cascades. Five years living in the Lower Haight in San Francisco and fourteen in Oakland, using the car for all errands, visits, and otherwise — the only time I took the bus was to work because I couldn't afford parking downtown. And one year, when my mother was seriously ill, I drove four hours each way to visit her every weekend for 51 weeks in a row. I drove a lot.

Until two years ago, when the car died. Okay, when my husband killed it. Too many years of flaking on the maintenance and the engine went irreparably *boom!*

Having the car die was the best thing that ever happened to us.

We're fortunate to live in an area with pretty decent public transportation (which it sounds like you do too), and we've discovered how much we like walking, which we never knew before. There are so many beautiful, strange, surprising, delightful things you see while walking that you would never see if in a car! Since you've never been a driver, that might not stand out to you, but it's one of the things that's been an ongoing pleasure for us.

I also love what it's done for my basic level of physical fitness. When the car first died, we took the bus pretty much everywhere. It didn't take long before we started getting impatient about waiting for the bus and deciding that well, it's not that far, let's just walk. And now I walk two miles home from work every day and taking the bus doesn't even cross my mind, because it just feels good to be moving and feeling my muscles flexing and my blood pumping and smelling the air and listening to the birds.

As others have pointed out, it's annoying and parasitical to beg or mooch rides from car-owning friends, and you don't want to do so excessively. In the past year we've done so once, for a veterinary emergency. (The other vet visits, we've just taken the bus with one or both cats in carriers.) Most of the time, though, we're turning down rides from people who can't quite believe we'd rather walk.

I love not having a car. I love not needing a car. Not having a car feels so much freer. Not having a car feels like knowing a secret to happiness, but also knowing that most people wouldn't believe it — so I keep my mouth shut unless explicitly asked. Not having a car is great. At this point, we wouldn't have a car if you gave it to us.

And I say all this even though three months after the car died I had a serious foot injury that put me on crutches for three weeks and a cane for months. A month after that, my husband broke his collarbone, for good measure.
posted by Lexica at 8:04 PM on May 14, 2009

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