A reader writes:
In your "Carbon Off-Sets and Hollywood" post today, you said you have never driven in your life. I'm part of that club (well, I've driven, just never had a license nor owned a car). I was just wondering why you don't drive/haven't driven? Is this a personal choice?
It's a choice the way so many things in life are. I was a nerdy and reclusive teen who had no social life because of repressed homosexuality. I didn't need to go anywhere that needed a car, and the train station was a twenty-minute walk. I took public buses to high school, or a friend's dad drove me and my brother. At Oxford, there was no reason to have one. We all walked or biked everywhere. Ditto Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Washington DC, let aone Provincetown. So I never bothered to even learn, let alone get a license. I wouldn't know what to do in front of a steering wheel. So it's no grand political statement - just the culmination of a lifetime's small habits.
Forced to defend it, I'd simply say: For short journeys, I bike everywhere. New York is reachable by train. Everything else can be reached by plane. My other half drives me and the dogs to Provincetown each summer, but before we met, I put the beagle on an airplane. That's it, really. I have no kids, and live in an urban neighborhood where the cost and hassle of a car vastly outweigh the pluses. I certainly don't begrudge people their cars. It's a free country. Many people need them. I'm lucky and I'm happy I don't.