What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

20 July 2016

One Who Can Drive

Today in My Life is Basically Just a Venue for Musical Theatre References to Happen, I want to talk a little bit about cars and my beloved Next to Normal.

This Next to Normal post is not
about Aaron Tveit's character. I
just like to post pics of him. Source.
In case you've still not looked it up (spoilers! But really, this musical has been available in a whole bunch of venues since 2009. If you're still going to call this a spoiler, go to YouTube, for goodness' sakes): Next to Normal deals with the effects of Diana's mental illness on herself and her family.

Because we've built such a car-centric society, because driving in most places is the norm, because not driving is seen as different or wrong or downright harmful, this musical can twice cite Diana's non-driving as a particularly irritating side effect of her illness. Dan, her husband, goes so far as to say, "I loved a wife so alive, but now I believe I would settle for one who can drive." Geez, dude.

I usually hear colloquially that 30% of Americans don't drive (although pinning that number down has been problematic), for reasons of age, ability, or desire. That's a lot of people to leave out of our transportation system. Insisting that everyone has to either drive or stay home isolates not only people like Next to Normal's Diana, but also our ever-growing population of senior citizens, and folks who have other, more pressing uses for money that may have been spent on car ownership.

We can do better. We should do better than to just accept that some folks are being left out of participation in society because of the way we've built our transportation system. Diana may be fictional, but her mobility issues are very real.


J E Oneil said...

And that's not even getting into all the pollution cars cause. Driving isn't as much of a status symbol anymore. Maybe we're heading towards change?

Su Wilcox said...

Yes. Both of those things. Driving has been on the decline since before the recession, but departments of transportation across the country have a hard time with this idea.