Sunday, August 10, 2014

Four things you should never say to a non-car owner

Not owning a car is a very non-conformist decision in most of America. Here are four things you shouldn't say to someone who's made that choice.

1) "Have you ever considered getting a car? I can't imagine not having one." 
Seriously? Any licensed driver in the US has spent many years living in this car-obsessed culture whose infrastructure is designed almost exclusively for motor vehicle. They've spent years navigating an infrastructure designed to ignore pedestrians and bicyclists and is, in many places, outright hostile to them. Do you seriously think it hasn't crossed their mind? Is it possible that they do a cost-benefit analysis every so often and conclude that it just doesn't make sense to them? Oh and by the way, you're not the only person in the world. Just because you can't imagine not having a car doesn't mean others can't and don't make it happen. You don't condescend to me about having to biking in the rain once in a while and I won't say anything when you're bitching about how much you spend to fill up your gas tank. Deal?

2) "I'd love to not have a car but (insert 20 reasons why they do)." 

I say this with the deepest respect: No one cares. You don't have to explain your personal decisions to me, so long as you don't expect me to explain mine to you. You obviously feel a little guilty about it or else you wouldn't have felt the need to go out of your way to justify yourself. But unless you want the non-car owner to help you figure out how to change it, don't bother me with it. Not interested. Unless the non-car owner is a priest; then maybe he can absolve you.

3) "Oh you're finally getting a car? Congratulations!"
If a long time non-car owner who finally gets a car, there's a good chance he's doing so reluctantly. Besides, it's silly to congratulate him over something like this. It's not like it's splitting the atom.

4) "Oh you're finally getting a car? Don't do that. It's (20 reasons why it's a bad idea)."
Please see 1) and 3). If he's doing so reluctantly, this comment will make him feel like crap. And again, do you think he hasn't seriously considered the pros and cons?

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