Tuesday, 3 March 2015


My friends and family all know that I don't drive.  The issue comes up in conversation once in a while, especially if I happen to mention the difficulties involved in taking public transit.  I am well aware of how convenient it is to be able to operate a vehicle but it was a personal choice for me to not do so.

In the 1970s sitcom "Laverne and Shirley" there was an episode in which the subject of driving came up, and Laverne admitted that she was afraid to try driving.  This prompted Shirley to holler out the window for the neighbours to hear: "Laverne de Fazio is afraid to drive!"  Embarrassed by the revelation of her secret, Laverne gets her revenge by going to the window and hollering, "Shirley Feeney stuffs socks in her bra!!"

I also have faced the ridicule and the insistent explanations of why driving is an important skill.  I also have felt abject terror when sitting behind the controls of a machine that is capable of crippling or killing another human (or myself) given a moment's inattention.  When I was thirteen I was hit by a car and sent to hospital, an event that shook me to my core and made me realize how dangerous driving can be.

Not to mention that the city of Montreal is notorious for having terrible drivers, and I see this frequently: they run lights, fail to signal, make illegal turns, speed, and more.  My husband and I once witnessed a driver slaloming around the poles that delineate the bike path that passes our house.  Since our street is long and straight it occasionally becomes a 2 AM drag strip in the summer.

I often wonder why there aren't physical limiters on cars like there are (supposedly) on transport trucks.  Why build a car that's capable of 180 kph or more when the speed limit on most highways is 110?  As noted in an episode of The Simpsons, people want to feel powerful and in control of something.  "People don't want cars named after hungry old Greek broads!  They want names like Mustang and Cheetah: vicious animal names."

Let me say something: I have power.  I have the power to control my own life and not have to worry about license and registration fees, the price of gasoline, maintenance, parking tickets, traffic, or accidents.  The inconvenience of not having a vehicle is well worth the peace of mind and the money in the bank.

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