5 Things That Suck About Not Knowing How To Drive

1. You’re dependent on your friends for rides

I have a confession to make: I’m a virgin who can’t drive. (JK about being a virgin.) I really don’t have my license though. I’ve never even tried driving a car because I’m too worried that I would kill myself and my passengers in two seconds. My fear is actually so intense that I’ve basically chosen to live in cities  based on how easy it is to get around without a car. When I lived in San Francisco, for example, I could take Muni, BART, or buses, and in New York, I obviously can get around just fine. The only time not having a license poses a problem for me is when I’m visiting my family in Los Angeles. And then it really sucks. Then I really wish I could get over my driving phobia and just do the damn thing because 90% of America is driving-friendly and it’s a bummer to have to hide in the other 10% for the rest of my life. One of the worst things about living sans license is how much your friends resent you for not knowing how to drive. Even the best friends, the ones who are cool with driving an hour out of their way to pick you up and hang out, get secretly annoyed. I don’t blame them either! Driving seems like a headache! You have to always be on and checking to make sure you’re not one lane change away from encountering a fiery death. If I were them, I’d be totally annoyed to have to pick me up and drive me around places like a personal chauffeur. I throw gas money at them and offer to buy them lunch to alleviate some guilt but the fact remains that it sucks to rely on people for rides, especially when you fancy yourself to be very independent. It’s humbling to go from being a 25 year old who gets around on his own to visiting my family and asking my mom if she can take me to the coffee shop.

2. You can get trapped

Not having a license certainly restricts your freedom. When I’m in LA, my day always has to be perfectly mapped out, going from one available ride to the next. I’m at the mercy of others all day long and it often leads me to being stranded somewhere and having to wait for someone to come pick me up. I spend 70% of my time in L.A. just waiting. Waiting at coffee shops, at bus stops, at street corners. It’s so frustrating! If I had a license, I could have my own schedule and not have to plan around anyone else’s. I would be free to do what I want, when I want. I would be…happy?

3. You can’t go on long, pensive drives by yourself

It seems like one of the major advantages to having a car is being able to disappear and just drive to anywhere you want. Clear your head, delete some stress, and essentially have your life become a trendy car commercial for a second. One of my main life goals is to reenact some of my favorite car commercials. Ride with my friends in the warm night as a Nick Drake songs purrs over our meaningful stares. Or having Telepopmusik’s “Just Breathe” blare on the speakers as I sit in the driver’s seat and think very deep thoughts. Oh, that would be just so fun! If you have a license and haven’t done these types of things, you’re not getting it right. Go do them now!

4. You don’t get to buy a car

People form very strong bonds with their cars. They humanize them by giving it a name, preferably a female one, and even go so far as to give it a long, lingering hug in public so everyone can know about their love. The car becomes a very real extension of their personality, something that they use as a solid identifier, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want that too! I want to buy a car just so I can give it a clever name and take it on long walks at the beach. I want to spend lots of money on maintaining its beauty and provide it with plenty of TLC. I’m not ready to have kids or even a dog but I would definitely be ready to take care of a car.

5. You can’t control the music

If you aren’t the one driving, you can’t control the music. Drivers make it perfectly clear that when it comes to managing the tunes, they’re the ones in charge. Because God forbid you mess with their perfect driving playlist or change the radio station when they’re favorite song is on. There’ll be blood on the upholstery! If I had a license, I would basically convert the drivers seat into a DJ booth and pretend I’m Samantha Ronson making scratching noises on my iPod. It’ll be payback to all of those mean drivers who wouldn’t let me play that Hilary Duff song just one more time! TC mark

image – Nicolo Patermoster

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Jess

    FUCK this article is too accurate since I’m currently 20 and still don’t have my license :( 

    • DC

      Hahahahah. Your comment and this entire article felt like it was dedicated or directed to me. 

      But hey, I’m (finally) making an effort here. I’ve finished all 10 hours of my driving lessons and am waiting to sit for my driving test in May. 

      Although, I have to admit, I’m still awfully terrified of having to drive on the road.

      • Jess

        My goal is to get my license by July- my mom still has to drive me to work when I’m home from school and it’s so embarrassing! Good luck to you though :)

  • erprice

    Tell me about it! I had my first lesson on Saturday. Did really well….until I curbed the damn car and punctured the tyre. So it’s looking highly likely that I’m going to injure/kill somebody or at least run over a cat!

  • Anonymous

    Ryan, come to Virginia and I will teach you how to drive.

  • http://twitter.com/admiralaakbar ayshaa

    A driver’s license?  That’s so yesterday. So yesterday. 

    • C

      Solid Hilary Duff reference.
      Also, I can’t drive either, this article and comment section are like a support group.

  • Macloveland

    I’m glad to know there are others.

  • http://twitter.com/DnlAlvarenga Daniel Alvarenga

    I was really anti-driving until Los Angeles forced me to.

  • JH

    My life. I’m 23 and have had my license for a year and I’ve driven maybe two miles, including practice and the test. What used to be a charming quirk has become a grotesque sign of some sort of deficiency….

  • Anonymous

    I hardly ever try to control the music when I’m driving, as driving is not really supposed to be a multi-tasking activity, and if I take my eyes off the road for more than a few seconds I’m suddenly 2 lanes over LOL
    Well, at least you don’t have to pay for car insurance.

  • Heathem89

    I feel yah, as long as I’m living close enough to Beantown, I’m good w.the MBTA

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hannah-Ranson/1037018134 Hannah Ranson

    Ha! I’m nearly 29 and still can’t drive. Thank goodness for walking, public transport and a long line of very patient partners and friends who have gotten me from A to B over the years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lindsay-Lombardi/840247730 Lindsay Lombardi

    I feel like this piece written describes my life. I don’t have a car or a driver’s license, making my twenty-something years that you only get once in a lifetime kind of faulty. Relying on friends or my mom and dad to take me somewhere makes me have middle school flashbacks.

  • Guest

    also, groceries. Getting  groceries  is SO HARD.

  • Afig

    Learn how to drive you hobo.

  • knowlife

    male, non-driver, 31 and i live in michigan. fml. you have to drive damn near everywhere here. the bus can only go so far and for so long. also try breaking that one to the ladies. “hey, baby you like long mid-lit strolls. EVERYWHERE! all the time. sucks man.

  • LindaM

    …. if you live in car-centric America.

  • Guestropod

    That’s not how I roll!  The passenger seat person controls the music, but they have to choose from only what is on *my* iPod

  • post-electric

    Driving is the best thing ever. In L.A. It’s pretty much your second home.

  • Camillejessica

    THIS IS WHY I LOVE THOUGHT CATALOG SO MUCH. It basically describes my life, especially your articles, Ryan. I’m 23, born & raised in Los Angeles, & I just got my license a month ago. I bought a car on Monday. I hate taking (LA) public transportation so much & I felt bad asking people for rides, having to leave or wake up 1-2 hours earlier than I should to do anything, waiting on people out in the cold, having people laugh at me for not having my license at age 23. But I finally did it! Although if I lived in NYC I still wouldn’t have my license either

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    I’ve been driving for 20 years and I’ve never done #3.

  • yo

    driving is easier than you would think! Honestly you just need to DO IT

  • Rachel

    Ryan, how is it possible that your life is always just like mine? I finally managed to get my license a year ago, sick of being “that girl” who’s always bugging everyone for a ride (And just a teensy bit tired of the embarrassment of being a licenseless twenty-something). I have to say, long, solitary drives with no one to judge my musical selections have been the best part :)

  • Marc P.

    I have a license, but driving in LA mortifies me. Spending a semester out here was certainly “trying” on my friends with rentals cars. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

    I wouldn’t be so averse to public transit if it weren’t so damn janky in LA.

  • Ela

    You missed one.. having car sex whenever and with whomever you wish to have car sex with. Must have car to have comfortable car sex.

  • Jo

    I was totally in this same boat a year ago. Twenty-something with no licence, constantly mocked by my family and peers with a fear that my getting behind the wheel and driving was an instant recipe for death. Not to mention I have a kid, how embarrassing is it to have to ask your mom to take you to your 1 yr old sons pediatrician so he can have his check up? Really effing embarrassing, in fact it is a fail of EPIC proportions. To top it off I live in Missouri. You know the farming state with lots of trees and rows and rows of cornfields, and the smell of manure wafting on the breeze as you drive, (ha no not drive) I mean ride down the highway?  Which means buses are few and far between. So I broke down and took drivers education. I totally suggest this if you are afraid to drive. The driving instructor puts you at ease and tells you everything down to the letter of what you will need to do to pass the test. The only downside is being mocked by everyone who sees a twenty-something (or older) driving in a car advertising drivers education. But in the end you will at least be able to drive.

  • http://twitter.com/yllwsmmrdrss Marie

    Agreed, but think of what you would have to worry about if you did have a car: insurance, gas prices, parking – all so expensive! Public transpo ftw :)

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