Change #2


I forgot the obvious example of my discomfort with technology. I have never had a driver’s license. I learned to drive (sort of) when I was 21, then never got my learner’s permit.

Why? I think some strange form of timidity. I should have learned. Knowing how and having a license does not mean you have to drive. Though when one my bosses asked me why I didn’t drive many years ago, I said, “Because if I did, I would end by buying a car.”

I think private cars are an insane way to move people around in an urban area. I think they have done huge damage to American society and to the environment. Instead of compact cities, we have enormous suburbs sprawling out and out over what used to be farmland and marshland and woods. (That’s what the suburbs replace in Minnesota.)

Kids below driving age are trapped like rats in cages. So are elderly people, no longer able to drive.

City neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs here have (mostly) small houses and yards which are obviously being used — with outdoor grills and play sets and gardens. People clearly spend time outside and probably know their neighbors. I certainly knew my neighbors when I owned a small house in a Minneapolis neighborhood. The outer ring suburbs have huge houses and yards with nothing in them. It looks as if the inhabitants come home, go inside and have no idea who their neighbors are. If you look at a Minnesota voting map, the suburbs are a red ring around the blue core cities. These are people who have never learned about community.

None the less, I should have learned to drive.