Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11: On Driving

Today's Kerouaction

According to Simple English Wikipedia, Jack never had a driver's license. says "he never had a driver's license, and was envious of any skilled driver, his friend Neal Cassady in particular. Apparently made his peace with driving coming back from a Mexican trip, when he had to take the wheel part-time over long stretches of desert, as he described later in 'Desolation Angels.'"

Jack never needed a driver's license because he found other ways to get from point A to B. When he was a railroad brakeman, he walked and hopped freights to his station. He got to his firestation on Desolation Peak by horseback and needed no transportation once he was there. To travel cross country, he hitchhiked or used public transportation or a car service (in the latter case depending on Neal or others to drive). When a car was absolutely necessary (for example, when moving Memere and himself and their stuff multiple times), he had relatives or friends or hired drivers do the driving.

So except for some sporadic - and illegal - driving he did later in life (some sources say he never learned until he was 34 in 1956), Jack Kerouac, author of On The Road, had no need for driving. Amazing!

Yes, it was a different time, but it's still possible to craft a life without owning a car or needing to drive. That would be a very beat thing to do, and a definite Kerouaction.

If you're reading this and don't have a driver's license yet, forget about getting one. You don't need it. If you already have one, think about not renewing it. In either case, figure out a way to get where you need to go without driving. Think of the money you'll save on car payments and repairs and excise taxes (in Maine!) and insurance. Besides, the things you own end up owning you, and cars are the best example of that maxim.

Indeed, to forsake driving and car ownership is a great strategy in these dark economic times!

And on top of that, it's the beat thing to do.

Be like Jack and don't drive. Look at it this way: if you never drive, you can never get in trouble for drunk driving. Since drinking is an inescapable Kerouaction, not driving is probably the only way not to make sure you never mix the two.

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