Google+ Authentic Parenting: Don't Talk To Me About These Topics Three - Part II

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Talk To Me About These Topics Three - Part II

This post is part of a three piece series, find the first part about my daughter's hair here and third part next week.

At seems as if lately, everywhere I am going, people only have three topics when talking to me... And they are all equally irritating.

1. My daughter's hair
2. Me not having a driver's license
3. Schooling

It doesn't matter if these are people I know intimately or vaguely, if I see them often or not, these three topics seem to pop up in just about any conversation I am having! And it seriously pisses me off, because people's attitudes about any of them tend to be very narrow minded and the goal of each of these conversations always turns out that they want to make me (or my daughter) do something, because obviously they know best!
So, you are warned. If you start about one of these topics, I may very well blow one day!

I don't have a driver's license
To be completely honest, when I was 18 I tried to get my driver's license. I did the theoretical exam and failed. The reason why is simple. My mom brought me to the testing centre and said it didn't have to take long, she had other stuff to do. So that and the pressure of a timed exam with a lot of trick questions made me fail the theory, never to return again.
Back then I would have given an arm and a leg to have that driver's license, just to be able to drive far far away from my home. I did have a mobile boyfriend back then so I wasn't home very much anyway.
Shortly after, I would start university, and found out I didn't really need to drive. I was living in Brussels and everything became a short walk or a couple of subway stops away. The world was my oyster.

I met my husband at uni and we moved abroad as soon as I had my thesis done (even before my proclamation). I never had the need to drive since I was 18.

  • In Africa, I always had a driver and wouldn't be tempted to drive, just because of the trouble a white woman on her own could get into.
  • I am always with my daughter and she doesn't like the car.
  • I have mild agoraphobia so I avoid going out on my own anyway
  • when we're in Belgium - which is the only place I could be tempted to drive - my daughter doesn't want to get out because she doesn't like it. She doesn't like the weather, the people, the crowds... she's pretty much an African child with white skin.
So getting a driver's license for me, is a lot of hassle for very little use. The only times I do wish I had one, is on the very rare occasions my husband and I get to go out, in Belgium. He likes to drink occasionally and I don't so I could be of help there. But that's it.
Furthermore, I would have to get or pass my license in Africa, since that's where we reside. Getting a license in Belgium is simply not a possibility.

And still, take into account that we lead a very atypical life, close to every adult I have a conversation with starts about the driver's license and is shocked/disgruntled or appalled that I don't have one. It seems to me that it is within the same line of feminist thinking that feels like every woman should have a job to lead a full life.

I get these platitudes thrown at me, and they are the same no matter who I am talking to.

Your car is your freedom
Frankly, I can't understand how anyone in their right mind can think that. If your freedom depends entirely on a smelly, noisy, polluting death machine that sucks our earth dry of its natural resources, than I am truly sorry, but you are deranged! You have been completely brainwashed by consumerist society.
What kind of freedom is this contraption acquiring for you?
  • The freedom to go away when you need to air out? Shouldn't you seek to create a situation where you don't feel like you should drive for miles to get away? How free are you if you feel like running from where you are?
  • The freedom to buy what and when you feel like it? Generally, this turns out as the result of the 'car is freedom'-discussion: a car gives you the 'freedom' to go and spend some more money somewhere else. This is not freedom. This is slavery to consumption.
I am completely fine not spending money 300 days of the year. When I do spend money, it is because I have to, because we need to eat or I went through all my pants and look like a tramp in my rags. I don't NEED to go shopping, frankly, I couldn't care less. When I do need stuff, I can get it online just as good, probably better, because it doesn't include rushing in a store trying to grab everything with a toddler in tow. 
Freedom is something you create in your mind, and if you are worried that much about my freedom, you should at least allow me the freedom NOT to want a car. 

And if 'something happens'? I can call an ambulance, go to the neighbors, get the bus, find someone to drive me...
And if I need something? I can get home delivery, someone to drop something of, online shopping...
And if someone comes when I'm ll alone to chop off my head because I'm living in *gasp* Africa? Probably anything I could do would be futile, but if I had to make an educated guess, running away on foot and hiding in the jungle is a much better option then driving around in a contraption that seriously stands out on roads that hardly exist.

Find out about the schooling topic next week.



  1. awesome post!can't believe we are both mildly agoraphobic!+have a child whi doesn't like going out!such good points about cars+the so called 'freedom' they give you...

  2. Fantastic! :)

    I 'was forced' to get my Driving License by my parents (my younger brother wasn' odd) but I don't really drive. That's a lot of money wasted. (I failed the written test twice...)

    I have to admit though that I love driving but not because of a false sense of freedom (going out shopping, running away)..I can't really explain what it is. Hm.

    Looking forward to the third installment.


  3. I don't have my UK driver license, though I had one in the US. In the US, it was a necessity since I didn't live in a city with good public transportation, but where I am now, it's not all that necessary. I walk most places, or take the train or bus. There are times when I'd like to have my license, like if I need to get to a smaller town and the public transport takes a long time, but it's not that often. So I don't think you're crazy. Oh, and my daughter isn't fond of cars, either.

  4. I don't have my license either and have no interest in getting one. However where I live it can easily go to -40 degrees celsius in wintertime making it unwise to walk/bus anywhere with a baby. My hubby is away from home with work often too so in my case it would be useful. I share your sentiment though.

  5. I'm glad you have found a way to make not driving work for you. I don't understand why anyone would care one way or the other. I homeschool my two kids in rural US so I would be seriously screwed if I didn't have a car. It would be nice to have a driver though!

  6. I have my driver's license and am glad I have it. That said, I am VERY glad I don't have to use it. I'm plenty happy to let my husband take the wheel if we get in the car together (which he prefers) and I am currently relishing living somewhere walkable. We also have a bicycle trailer so I pretty much avoid the car as much as possible.


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