I have a confession to make: I don’t drive. Even worse, I’ve never had a driving license.
In a world of comfort and convenience, in that respect at least, I’ve always been something of an anachronism.
It’s not that I am taking a stand against driving or because of ideological or moral values; it is more of a financial issue.
As a teenager, I didn’t have parents to pay for driving lessons or even to support me while I paid for my own. At 16 I was living alone and supporting myself which is a good way to learn to be independent but, as I didn’t command huge wages as a teenage school dropout, I had to get my priorities right: home, food, clothing and that’s it.
Later on, as I have always lived in big cities, I never really needed a car: I could walk almost everywhere or use public transport.
When I started working in my present job, it became more of an issue as buses were few and far between, still left me with a 20 minutes walk, and cost £4 a day! So, for 5 years, I walked an hour each way. Great exercise for my figure, not so great for my arthritis. But the main problem was coming back at night either though a deserted, unlit park or taking a much longer road through a fairly rough area. Not my idea of fun at 1 in the morning!
A quick look in the costs involved in learning to drive and running a car made it very clear that there way no way I could afford it but a conversation with a colleague gave me another idea: why not get a scooter?
I did the maths and the sheer difference of costs between a car and a scooter won me over. I save several hundred pounds in insurance, I use about 10 times less petrol that I would if I had an average car, and road tax is £17 for the whole year!
And it’s fun.
Of course, riding a scooter has its disadvantages: winters can be rather cold and wet, there is a definite space issue when I do my shopping, and trying to go faster that 60mph is a bit of a pipe dream. But for me it does the job and if I didn’t have it I wouldn’t have been able to get that great wedding gig last month as it was in a small village in the middle of nowhere.
Best of all….. it makes me feel like a teenager all over again.