Middle Class Problems: We all know that we should leave the car at home ... but it's so hard to stop driving


Click to follow
The Independent Online

It begins innocently enough. We drive to the allotment as it otherwise takes an hour and two buses to get there, and we're scared of being turned into a loose- meat sandwich filling between a lorry and some railings if we cycle. Not to mention that driving makes bringing home all our blighted tomato plants so much easier.

But then, we think, we might as well drive to the supermarket, because it's so much easier than struggling with six carrier bags on the bus, and the next thing you know, we're driving round the corner to pick up the cat litter.

We all know we should be using public transport when we can and leaving the car at home but, once begun, it's so hard to stop. This despite our being well aware of the eco-unfriendliness of driving, and despite the fact that we know parking is a nightmare and will cost the earth, and that the roads are full of bad-tempered and often obnoxious fellow drivers.

So why do we do it? Two words: other people. We drive because in our cars, we don't have to listen to the irritating bass leaking from some yoof's badly fitting headphones. We don't have to chat to people at bus stops. We don't have to agonise over who to give up our seat for.

But you know what? It's precisely because of those often life-affirming interactions, when we're offered a seat by a yoof in badly fitting headphones, or enjoy a conversation at the bus stop with a newcomer to our street, that we should leave the car at home. So maybe we'll start again. Just after we've nipped down the allotment this once…