I do a lot of things people look down on: collect comic books, play video games even though I’m almost thirty, work from home, drink from 6am onwards, but the one thing I’ve gotten the most crap for is not driving. How can I not drive? Am I some sort of hippie? Do I have some sort of developmental disease?
No, it’s because I live in a city, like being alive and like money.
To be fair, there are compelling reasons to drive, like the fact that most of us don’t live anywhere near a public transit network. Still, there are a string of statements people usually make that they usually think are arguments, but are really just compelling reasons to stay off the road. For example:
1. “Driving Saves So Much Time!”
Yeah, I have one word for that: parking.
I have, being an American, been on many car trips, and it never fails: parking takes forever, for one of two reasons: one, there’s no parking anywhere, for which I blame hippies and their environmental laws that prevent things like swamps from being paved. Two, most people suffer from parking insanity.
Parking insanity is that disease wherein a grown adult refuses to just park in the nearest available damn spot and walk, instead cruising up and down the lanes looking for the closest possible spot, because walking a few hundred extra feet would bring their entire day to a grinding halt. Never mind that you’re holding at least three other people hostage, waiting for you to admit that the mall is congested and you’ll never find a spot.
If you want a demonstration of just how crazy parking drives humanity, look no further than “Parking Wars,” which in addition to being sterling ads for walking everywhere in said cities, they show pretty much everybody turning into a rabid wolverine over twenty bucks.
One time, somebody told me how much time we were saving while we were spending what wound up being three hours searching for their car in a parking garage the size of Wisconsin. The drive to and from, by a winding bus route? Twenty minutes.
Granted, sometimes from public transit, you have to hoof it. On the other hand, you also don’t have to pay forty bucks to put your car in a space of empty air.
2. “Driving Is So Much More Convenient!”
How? For the love of God, how?
Look, I’ll be the first person to admit that public transit can be incredibly frustrating. I’ve been rained on waiting for a bus that was fifty minutes late. I’ve been trapped in train tunnels. I’ve frozen my nuts off on train platforms in January in New England. But, on the other hand, I’ve been standing on train platforms waiting for a train far less time than I’ve spent in traffic jams.
Unlike any other modern inconvenience, traffic jams are pretty much caused almost entirely by human stupidity. Scientists have spent time analyzing traffic jams and the conclusions they came to were, essentially: at around 6:30am, every morning, there’s a small cluster of cars that have to go slow for a minute because somebody’s either old, stupid or unable to drive faster than 55mph…and that screws up your entire day.
This is why you’re stuck in traffic for an hour, every day, every morning and then every night. It’s because people can’t drive. There’s a handful of bastards screwing up your commute, every single day, and there’s literally nothing you can do about it. At least when the train breaks, it’s for an actual reason, not because somebody learned to drive in 1970 and thinks 55 saves lives instead of increasing road rage.
3. “Everybody Drives!”
Yeah. That’s the problem.
Ever wonder why it costs so much to insure your car? Because everybody drives, and most people can’t do it very well. Psychologists actually have a name for this: the illusion of control. Because you’re driving the car, you think you’re safe, when really what you need to worry about is every other idiot on the road, who you don’t have control over, and who are actually the people who wind up killing you 90% of the time.
I’m not talking about the jackass who winds in and out of traffic at 90 mph on a two-lane highway. I’m talking about your friend who just has to answer this call. To give you an idea of how badly people drive: the government has stated talking on your cell phone while driving is the equivalent of getting behind the wheel drunk. It causes 20% of all accidents, and yet we actually had to pass laws to keep people from texting behind the wheel.
Hell, the biggest threat on the road isn’t even that, it’s your grandpa: by 2020, 25% of all accidents are going to be caused by old people. Note the words: “caused by.” Yes, “South Park” was right: old people are trying to kill you with their cars. How? By going too slowly and not reacting to problems in time. True, we could just take the old people’s cars away…except they vote, so that’s never going to happen.
Granted, most people are fairly safe drivers, even in states where “Hold My Beer and Watch This” is practically the motto. But it doesn’t matter: more and more dangerous idiots and people who can’t drive are on the road. So, feel free to drive everywhere: I’m going to wait for the bus. The stench of urine beats getting killed by some jerk on his phone.