I recently found out that someone I know has never learnt to drive. Not only doesnít own a car Ė wouldnít know what do with one if she had one. This is not some inner-city shut-in who never has anywhere to go: this is someone who loves to travel Ė she just got back from a trip to Miami where, she confessed, she didnít go down to the Florida Keys because it was too far for the Uber driver.
Too far for the Uber driver. Good lord, what have we become?
I like to think of myself as an accepting, broad-minded man, open to all creeds and points of view. But when I hear of a fullyfledged adult whoís never learned to drive I want to sob, or break something over my knee. How can you not want the freedom, the independence, the fun that comes with sliding into the driverís seat for the first, and the thousandth, time?
Yet somehow, itís going to get more common. Government statistics show millennials Ė those teens and 20-somethings often derided just because their music is terrible, not my day, grumble grumble Ė are more likely to delay getting driverís licence, or even skip getting one at all. In Victoria, two-thirds of under-25s have a driverís licence, down 10 per in a decade. Now, letís take that with a grain of salt; government statistics are also used to show why politicians deserve raises. Most of the millennials I know Ė which is not because their music is so terrible, grumble grumble Ė as eager to get driving as I was, which is to say too eager because I failed the test the first time for speeding.
Thatís what the research says, too Ė and I donít understand it, I really donít.
But maybe itís not as alien as I think.
Is there any licence Iíve never acquired that other people think is ridiculous? Do pilots look at me with pity shaded behind their eyes, wondering how Iíve managed to become an adult without getting a flying licence?
No, they donít look at me at all, because theyíre up the pointy end of the plane, while Iím down the back, trying choose between watching Gods of Egypt or having a deep thrombosis to distract myself. (Spoiler: DVT is more enjoyable.)
But there is one group that looks at me with the same of pity and bemusement: motorcyclists. Bikers. Two-cowboys. On a steel horse they ride. And theyíre wanted (wanted!) dead or alive. Wait, what was I talking about?
I can ride a motorbike. Not, I freely admit, very well, but a few days tootling around Thailand on one that definitely not have passed rego in Australia and it was wonderful. wonderful, in fact, than driving a car would have been because of those largely rule- and police-free roads. It instantly the feeling of cruising around as a kid on a newly handed-BMX (but without all the pedalling).
I rnment ethings like in tting a ia, only er cent rnment ve pay many, were ger t to p vein able.) mixture -wheel anted!)
I spent y would l. More ecause evoked d-down But for some reason Iíve never got my motorbike licence in Australia, part from laziness and partly from a conviction that, sooner or later, every biker gets tipped off onto the bitumen or punted into the Armco by some dozy four-wheel numpty or other whoís tweeting instead of watching where theyíre going. (Thatís one thing I have in common with motorcyclists: I have at least one conviction.)
The thing is, thatís the same reasoning as my friend who has never got her car licence: ďOh, but Iíd probably be terrible at it and have an accident.Ē Itís a self-defeating argument. So maybe itís time I tried to find compassion and understanding for the licenceless among us.
You know what other licence Iíve never got? A hairdressing licence. And I never will, until they bring the Celica back.