It’s no secret that those without cars are second-class citizens.
Not having a car in America, especially in the suburban sprawl of metro-Atlanta, makes you a pariah. People look at you funny. You’re passed over for job openings, rejected as a romantic partner, and generally considered lacking in ambition, confidence, and ability. In other words, a red flag.
Let’s ignore for the moment how this reflects people’s subconscious bias against people in poverty and people with disabilities and focus instead on just how damaging such a belief is.
Listen. Not having a car does not make you any less of a person. It does not make you any less capable or responsible or ambitious than anyone else.
For years, I didn’t drive out of plain old fear. Learning to drive was traumatic due to this fear and my own inability to intuit certain unwritten rules of the road. I lacked confidence, was certain I’d die in a fireball the moment I got behind the wheel. My teachers did little to assuage my fears or build my confidence. I can’t blame them. They did the best they could.
Driving never came naturally to me. I have zero presence behind the wheel. Even today, the prospect of traveling at high speeds fills me more with dread and apprehension than the thrill of excitement. I never enjoyed racing with other kids as a child, and I still despise running.
Today, I do not have my driver’s license, and I am ok with that. I do not own a car, and I do not want one. (I’d rather like a Vespa, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon.)
I am a little resentful at a culture that seems hell-bent on forcing me to get my license simply to have any hope of stable housing, gainful employment, or romantic prospects, but such is life.
I am fully mobile without a car. I will continue moving forward, one foot in front of the other.