I avoid driving whenever possible these days, because it pisses me off beyond belief. I drive a lot, in the city, on a daily basis, and I’ve grown to hate it. Now back in the day, I used to love driving. Growing up in suburban Boston, I remember having so much fun cruising around with friends in the 1971 Buick LeSabre in which I learned to drive. Man, that thing was built like a tank; I could easily fit eight people in it comfortably, and you were nearly as safe as you would be in an armored vehicle. Admittedly, that tank got 8 miles to the gallon, but still… and when I was single and in my twenties, I went years without owning a car, only renting a subcompact a few weekends a month for an occasional 24-48 hours, which was like a mini-adventure.
My love of driving quickly began to evaporate in the mid-late nineties, when SUVs became more mainstream, along with more motorists on the road. Our driving culture noticeably shifted, and not for the better. Now I avoid driving whenever possible, wherever possible, as it’s gotten mind bogglingly stressful and/or maddening:
TRAFFIC – Whether it’s from bad weather, construction, more people moving back to the city and owning vehicles, or slowdowns from random accidents, traffic is now worse than it was even five years ago. If I have a meeting with a client in the suburbs, I know that it’s going to take me half a day, just because of the driving on both ends, often times taking longer than the meeting itself. Maddening. Can’t we just videoconference instead?
PARKING SUCKS – Does it seem that as our vehicles have gotten larger, parking spaces everywhere have gotten smaller? What IS that? Not to mention having to circle parking lots or city streets up to three times in order to find an open space, if you’re lucky. While apps like SpotHero have helped, parking is still a major pain in the ass.
USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND RIDE SHARING HAS GOTTEN EASIER THAN EVER – I remember a time waiting on a CTA bus or train to show up, having no idea as to how long I’d be waiting, or if the bus or train would show up at all. Don’t even get me started on the hell that is Taxicabs. But now, with the ability to receive real time text alerts as to a bus’s arrival time, as well as the convenience of using Uber or Lyft, alternatives to driving are just that much easier, now more than ever.
MORE EXERCISE – If you’re like me, you’re pressed to find time to exercise, with long work hours, parenting responsibilities, and all the other usual everyday dramas. Anytime I can walk instead of drive somewhere, I do it, in order to squeeze in a few extra minutes of cardio. The minutes really add up and make a significant difference on a day-to-day basis.
PEOPLE NOW DRIVE WORSE THAN EVER – This is the number one reason driving pisses me off; because of the idiots on the road. Other drivers’s road aggression, or not following (or knowing) the rules of the road is bad enough, but when you add to the mix things such as driving the wrong way down a one-way street, or doing what this guy did, it just gets too hard. I only hope that autonomous cars hit the road within the next ten years.
But of course by then, we’ll regularly have to deal with issues like this.
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