I Don’t Do That Podcast (With Ocho)

I Don't Do That (with Ocho)
E13 - I Don't Drive (Cathy)
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Show Notes

Listeners, start your engines!  Now turn them off.  Our guest today is Cathy who voluntarily gave up driving at age 75.  Tune in to find out Cathy’s story as she puts it in park, and lets go of the wheel for the last time.

Visit ko-fi.com/ocho for exclusive content as a supporter of this podcast!

[chimes]

Ocho:

Welcome to the “I Don’t Do That Podcast,” where we get into all the things that we’re not into.

[theme music plays] “na na na na na yeah nah I don’t do that, no I don’t do that.  You know it’s alright; you can ask, but I don’t do that, no I don’t do that.  I don’t do that.  I don’t do that…”

Ocho:

Episode Thirteen

 Cathy:

One of my friends who does a lot of driving and she’s about my age, I think she’s a year younger. She took her hat off to me and said, “you know, I respect the fact that people recognize that they don’t want to drive and are willing to give up driving.” 

Ocho:

Welcome To Season 2!  Episode 13 is “I Don’t Drive A Car.”  We’re talking today with Cathy, who does not drive a car.  Cathy is in her mid-70s.  She is white, identifies as female, and lives in a suburb of Chicago IL, USA.  Cathy is a retired nurse, a wife, and mother of 5, grandmother of 6.

Well, thanks for talking to me. I appreciate it.

Cathy:

You’re welcome. 

Ocho:

We’re talking about not driving a car today. 

Cathy:

Yes.

Ocho:

You stopped driving on purpose? 

Cathy:

Oh, yes. 

Ocho:

Okay. And when did you start? 

Cathy:

I was already 20…let’s see I got married when I was 26, and it would’ve been shortly before I got married that I got my license and started to drive. So I was probably about 25.

Ocho:

Okay, so a little over 50 years behind the wheel then? 

Cathy:

Yep. 

Ocho:

Okay. And why did you start then? You started a little late, it sounds like…

Cathy:

Well, yeah, before then, I didn’t really have a need to drive. My life was rather secluded and I didn’t need to have a vehicle and I just never had the opportunity to learn how to drive.

But when I was that age, I was in college. I finally decided to go to college and I had met my future husband, and he was about to graduate, and I was already graduated from undergraduate school, and I was seeking employment and I just knew that we would be needing a car, and we would need to know how to drive.

My husband had not—my, you know, “almost husband” at that time—also had not had a license. He got a license about the same time I did because he had grown up in the city of Boston and they had such great, you know, access to public transportation that he never needed it. But we both realized that there was a need, and we both got our licenses at about the same time.

And, and it was just like life presenting itself to me and I needed something to help me navigate that. 

Ocho:

Yep. Things got more complex and you needed to get around more, and you had just had more going on. 

Cathy:

Yeah. 

Ocho:

And I suppose…so you were in Grand Forks, North Dakota in college. Is that when this happened?

Cathy:

That’s right. 

Ocho:

Okay.  And did you like it when you started driving or what? What how’d you feel about it?

Cathy:

Well, I mean, I felt like I was fulfilling a need. It’s just like, how do you feel about going to get a shot you need to get?  I mean, it was just something…it was an accomplishment, but as far as, was it something I really had looked forward to, wanted to do really badly? And did it really change my life a lot? Not really.

Because I didn’t drive anymore than I needed to.  And you know, it was just one of those things. It was just something…but it is also because of my age when I did that, I didn’t go through any kind of formal classes to learn how to drive. A friend took me out behind the wheel a few times and, you know, I passed the test, but I always felt kind of inadequate driving.

Ocho:

Oh. Okay. So you didn’t go out just for a drive for pleasure. You weren’t taking road trips because now you can take road trips. There was nothing like that. 

Cathy:

No. I took road trips when I needed to take road trips. Like when I wanted to see family. And the distance was such and, or they were so rural, I mean, I needed a car to get there, but they’re the only real road trips I took. 

Ocho:

Mm-hmm.  And you had a feeling like maybe you weren’t that good of a driver because you didn’t, you weren’t really—

Cathy:

I always kind of felt insecure. Yes. I mean, through almost all my years of driving, I felt somewhat insecure. And I think it was probably because of my lack of real training in getting it. And also, you know, when you’re in rural North Dakota—and North Dakota, the whole state really is rural—I mean, you get on interstate and you see a car at what, every five miles?

[both laugh]

Ocho:

Yeah. 

Cathy:

I mean, and then we raised our family in South Dakota. So I had the same situations for a lot of those years.

I didn’t feel like I really needed to be that great a disciplined driver. 

Ocho:

Sure. 

Cathy:

Because of the lack of people around me, cars around me… 

Ocho:

Yeah. You didn’t have a lot of traffic. Yeah. You could take it easy more. 

Cathy:

Right. So I, so I was more, I was comfortable. 

Ocho:

Right, sure, yes, sure. But did you ever do any driving in a city then, later?  Because that’s a different animal, isn’t it?

Cathy:

Yeah, it is a different animal. And the biggest city I would’ve driven in would’ve been Fargo, North Dakota.  And we lived there for three years. But you know, like even in Fargo, we had a church that we went to, we had a regular grocery store I shopped at…and I rarely went to see people, visit people. Like there was one person in Fargo that I would, after I lived there for quite a while, that I went to see weekly because she was an immigrant and I was helping her to learn to become a citizen. 

Ocho:

Yeah. 

Cathy:

And, and so I made it a point to go see her, but I mean, it was just very focal. Everything I drove to was very focal, and I knew exactly where I was going. There were roads I knew I was familiar with, you know what I mean? After a while, you’d take the same road three times and you know right where you’re going.

Ocho:

Mm-hmm. 

Cathy:

So, I mean, I was always insecure driving if I didn’t know where I would needed to turn or something, you know what I mean? And back then I didn’t have a GPS or anything like that that would tell me. 

Ocho:

Right, right. Yeah. That would’ve been 20 years ago or something like that. So did you drive—because you lived in Tacoma for a little while—Did you drive when you were there? 

Cathy:

We lived in Tacoma.  And I drove to Burien to visit my daughter. And then after a while we lived in Burien because I worked in Tacoma, right? I  would actually drive from Burien to Tacoma. And I can’t say that that was a comfortable drive, but I did it. 

Ocho:

Okay. Okay. So it was always kind of…it seems like you met all the challenges regardless, but it wasn’t ever anything that you really took a lot of pleasure in doing.

It was kind of a utility, like it was almost like that through the whole time. Like it was only just what you needed to do and “it’s fine, I’ll do it, but I’m…” it’s not your favorite thing and it’s nothing you ever really got really expert at or anything like that. 

Cathy:

That’s right. 

Ocho:

Okay. Okay. So that went on for 50 years or something, and then you decided to quit.

Did you do that suddenly or did you plan it or what happened? 

Cathy:

I did more or less planning. You know, driver’s license renewals come every four years. 

Ocho:

Mm-hmm. 

Cathy:

And in the state of Illinois, after age 75, you have to take the driving part of the driving test every time you’re up for renewal. 

Ocho:

Yep. 

Cathy:

And I decided probably two or three years before I became 75, because that’s when my license was going to need to be renewed again, that I was not going to renew my license.

Ocho:

Do you take any issue with that law, with the, the rules about the…?

 

Cathy:

No, I don’t. 

Ocho:

Okay. 

Cathy:

No, I have no issue with that law. I think it’s a good law. I mean, I think our reflexes slow down. People who are competent, they’re not gonna have any problems driving the test. I understand they make it pretty simple for the seniors anyway.

Ocho:

Okay. 

Cathy:

And I think part of the reason they do that is because a lot of seniors do utility driving like I was doing. 

Ocho:

Right. Right. 

Cathy:

You know what I mean? A lot of them don’t ever worry about making entrances onto interstate, all those kinds of things. 

Ocho:

Yeah, it, it sounds like you were driving like a senior even when you were 30 years old or whatever you were.

Cathy:

Exactly. 

Ocho:

Okay, so you were talking about your reflexes slowing down and that kind of thing. Was that like what you were thinking of? 

Cathy:

I’m not sure that mine were really deteriorating. I just knew that I didn’t want to drive anymore. And I thought that that would be just a good excuse not to do it. 

Ocho:

I see.

Cathy:

And I think even if I hadn’t moved to where I am now—and I am living in a location where the driving is not that necessary, right—but even when we lived on the other end of town, I would’ve made do. I would’ve managed with friends and taxis and whatever I would’ve needed to do. 

Ocho:

Yeah, they got Uber now, and Lyft and those driving services that make it pretty easy.

Cathy:

So anyway, I wasn’t too concerned, right. 

Ocho:

And when you moved—you said you were on the other end of town—was was your moving, was part of the reason you did that so that you could be in a convenient location where you weren’t gonna be driving? 

Cathy:

No, that really wasn’t part of the reason.

Ocho:

Okay. 

Cathy:

Cause when I was looking for a place I was looking for anything that was handicapped accessible for my husband. I wanted something that did not require stairs, and it just so happened that we landed in the perfect spot. 

Ocho:

Well, that’s great. Congratulations. It’s not easy to find the perfect spot to live, so…

Cathy:

…and it’s perfect for us, you know?

We’re absolutely close to everything that we need to go to. 

Ocho:

Yep. Where do you like to go?

Well, we go to the library a lot.  We go to the center of Elgin, which has houses a great, a great gym, which my husband is a member of, and tries to get there frequently.  And he can do that on a scooter.

I don’t have to drive, I don’t have to load up a wheelchair and a car. I don’t have to, you know what I mean? I can walk it. Because it’s walkable distance.  And we go to the senior center for some social activities. Those are places we go to most besides church. And church is kind of far, I mean I could manage it, but it would be far for my husband to go.

But we have a friend who literally, because of our location, drives past our place on her way to church, and is more than happy to stop and pick us up. So, you know. 

Ocho:

Yeah. It’s a community, so you know people who go there, so you can just get a ride with them.  Because you were loading a wheelchair into a car for a while and I am right?

Cathy:

And I am now Sundays when I take, when we go to search together with our friends, but it’s not that big a deal.

Ocho:

Yeah. Especially if you don’t have to drive. 

Cathy:

Exactly. . . Yeah. 

Ocho:

Are you still doing volunteering through the church and that kind of thing? 

Cathy:

Well some of the volunteering I do, I do from home. Our church sends out birthday cards to every single—just email ones—to members of our congregation.

And I do that from home. 

Ocho:

Yep. 

Cathy:

And then I also still help with the soup kettle. And there’s a few things I do, but not as much as I used to. Like Sunday mornings I go up early to church because my friend has to be there early anyway because she helps set up for the celebration and stuff, the Eucharistic celebration.

And I prepare coffee and stuff for fellowship hour after church. So I still do that. I mean, when I’m there anyway, you know, and I then I do, once a month I do help with our soup kettle. 

Ocho:

That’s great. So you’re feeding people. 

Cathy:

Right. 

Ocho:

And you don’t need to drive to do it.  

Cathy:

And I don’t need to drive to do it.

Because I have a friend who also goes and passes my house and is happy to pick me up. 

Ocho:

Yeah. We’re doing this together. 

Cathy:

Right, right. 

Ocho:

So does anybody, speaking of friends, I mean,  have you gotten any any flack for it? Has there been any negative reaction about you not doing this, or deciding to stop?

Cathy:

No, not really. I know one time before I actually stopped, and I mentioned that I wasn’t going to have my license renewed, my a friend made a comment, “you know, Catherine only costs like $5.” That’s all a senior license or something costs, right. But it wasn’t the cost of the license that was the issue.  But this same person is more than willing to give me a ride when I want to.

And one of my friends who does a lot of driving, and she’s about my age, I think she’s a year younger, and she does a lot of driving, and she just, she took her hat off to me and said, you know, “I respect the fact that people recognize that they don’t want to drive and, and it, and are willing to give up driving.”

So, no, I haven’t really received any flack at all. 

Ocho:

That’s good. I respect it too. I really admire it and I hope the time comes when I voluntarily stop driving as well. And I actually really enjoy it. I still just do it for utility, but if, like, if Betty and I are going somewhere, I’m driving just because I like driving and she kind of doesn’t, but she’s good at it, you know, too.

It’s just a…she might have more of an attitude like you do. Like, I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but maybe it’s just more of a utility, like a thing she has to do. So but yeah. I used to drive around for pleasure and stuff all the time when I was a teenager, when I was first driving.

And for that reason I think it might be a little hard, but I still like, I’m still taking a cue from you with that. Like, I hope that I have the grace to just bow out at some point because I agree that I’m not gonna be as sharp or as quick or as observant as I age.

And I think it does a lot of good. I know, like I was walking and I had a close call with someone driving who was a senior, and I couldn’t really help myself but yell at him. But luckily I was polite enough; I didn’t swear at him or threaten him or anything like that.

I just told him he had to be careful and he should watch where he was going, and I repeated myself a few times and then I’m like “Oh, hey, I’m yelling at this guy.” and I just kept walking. But but it would be nice to avoid things like that for sure. Do you find any benefits or drawbacks to not driving?

Do you ever miss it? 

Cathy:

Do I miss it? Yeah. You know, I miss it at stupid times and, you know, the first time I ever missed it, there’s someone here in Elgin whom I have befriended for, you know, five or six years; she’s homeless and, that’s really her choice. She, hasn’t really cared about whether or not she’s homeless, but there are times that I accommodated her, gave her a ride where she needed to go, or, you know, and that kind of thing.

And I miss not being able to help someone doing something like that.  But the other time, the only other time I ever miss it is stupid little things like on Thursdays, I used to go up to the church with a bus, take the bus up to church, and I used to fold our bulletins for Sunday. And then I always take my cart with me because the church is only a couple of blocks from the grocery store that I often shop at.

Then I’d stop at my grocery store, pick up groceries, and then walk home with the groceries. But there are two or three times I forgot my wallet and purse and everything up at the church. And you know what? It wasn’t worth it to me to walk up there to buy these groceries. I had them to the cart and everything already.

So if it needed refrigeration or whatever, I put it back. But everything else I left on the cart and just left the store.  But I didn’t get my grocery shopping done.  I mean, when I do stupid stuff like that, I regret not having a car.  But I mean, not really. I don’t really. I don’t overall regret that I don’t have a car.

Ocho:

Sure, I hear that. 

Cathy:

Overall, I’m happy I don’t have the burden. 

Ocho:

There’s always drawbacks, even if you’re happy about the result. So there’s the other side of the coin, as your husband says. It’s one of his favorite phrases. I think. Okay. That’s great. So the benefits…is it what you hoped it would be?

Cathy:

I think so.  I’m very pleased to be where I’m at.  I mean, you know, and I think the fact that we found this place to live, has has made answering that question so much easier. I mean, I’m only about a half a block from our transit system, so I can walk to the train and get onto the train to go to Chicago if I want to.

I can take the bus anywhere in town. And a lot of places that I go, like if I go for a quick shopping trip to like one of the grocery stores that’s a little further away and I do my shopping within…and get done within a half an hour, I can get there and back in an hour’s time on one ticket.

Because if you catch a bus again within an hour you don’t have to pay again for that ride. You’re only paying one way. And you know that the cost of transportation, public transportation for reduced fare, which I qualify for because of being a citizen here and because of my age, I mean, it costs me a dollar to get on a bus.

You know, what the hay! 

Ocho:

Yeah. Easy enough. No hassle. You don’t gotta Park anywhere.  You can just get in, get off. 

Cathy:

And of course the drawback is if you’re getting stuff that’s really heavy or whatever, you know… and I’ve on purpose, had someone give me a ride to the grocery store if I’m getting a lot of liquids.  That kind of thing, you know, because it’s just too hard to try to load that onto the bus. 

Ocho:

And there’s so many people doing deliveries now too. Like, we get our groceries delivered now. 

Cathy:

You know what, I’ve looked into that. Number one, one of my favorite places to shop would be, XXXXX and you know, they do it through, I don’t know, some kind of shopping cart thing, but, you know, prices are different than they are at the store. They’re higher. They don’t even follow grocery ad prices on there. And then you’re paying delivery costs and you’re paying…and then you don’t get to choose what you’re picking. I like to choose what I’m getting. 

Ocho:

Yeah. Me too. 

Cathy:

And some things doesn’t matter, but you know, like, I think there’s like XXXXXX grocery store, I think one of their things about delivery is you can’t have things like beverages delivered. So I can’t order three cases of pop and a gallon of milk.

Ocho:

That, well, that doesn’t seem like any good…

Cathy:

and that’s the stuff I want delivered. 

Ocho:

Right, right. Of course. Of course. That’s not a very good delivery.

I mean, I hear you there. There’s definitely places that do it better than that. But those are all definitely valid criticisms of the grocery delivery. 

Cathy:

And I did use it some during Covid, but you know, even then when I had a car, even then, I limited it because I still like to go do my own shopping.

It’s, it’s kind of, well maybe it’s just getting out too, but part of it is, especially if you’re choosing any fresh vegetables and fruit, you kinda like to know what you’re getting. You like to select your own. I like to see what I’m getting and…

Ocho:

I have to kind of direct people on that when I order groceries, you know, I gotta type in instructions like, “don’t give me overripe bananas.” But I still get some surprises. Like, like I got this squash that was as big as my head, and I’m like, I didn’t expect an acorn squash to be as big as my head, you know! But I ordered one, you know, they gave me like four in one kind of, but that’ll happen, I suppose. 

[both laugh]

Is there anything else you wanted to say about driving and do you want to say anything to anyone who might be considering not driving?Anything they should think about? 

Cathy:

I don’t know that there is.  I just know that I feel a big sense of relief not having to drive and because I mean, I save myself, I don’t know how much money a year not driving, you know, just licensing every year and all that, and besides it’s just the gas and the tuneups and all that stuff.

I do give the person who regularly gives me a ride to church, gas cards all the time. 

Ocho:

There you go.

Cathy:

As a thank you. And she always says, “you know, Catherine, you know this isn’t necessary.” And I said, “I know it’s not necessary, but I can afford it and you’re doing me a real favor and a service that I really appreciate.”

And I mean, she’s, you know…but, you know, other than that…I didn’t do it to save money because I tried to spend my money then helping people who have helped me save it. 

Ocho:

Right. Right. Well, that’s very kind of you and I want to just say thanks for talking to me. 

Cathy:

Sure.

Ocho:

And thanks to everyone for listening to the podcast.  It’s very fulfilling for me to be able to talk to my guests and broadcast their stories, and I couldn’t do it without you listening.  I hope that you will continue to listen, check out the other episodes, and tell people about it.  Share it with people.  Leave me a positive review on your streaming service.  Give me a 5 star rating.  Hit your subscribe button.  I would love it.  Honestly, every time I notice people doing those things, I feel encouraged to go out and make some more interesting content.  So it does help.  And if you can spare a few bucks, that would get me going as well.  That’s at idontdothatpodcast.com/give.  There’s a lot of great content on that site as well.  You could easily be entertained for hours on idontdothatpodcast.com/give, with the free content alone.  There are no ads on that site, either.  And as of now, there are no ads on this show.  So I am very grateful to those who have supported me on idontdothatpodcast.com/give.

I’m always grateful to my sponsor, Anders The Giant at Primetime Web.  Also grateful for Fuzzy, J-Mez and Sea Dubbz for hosting me on Fuzzjock radio.  You can hear me talk with them about sports at f-u-z-z-j-o-c-k-r-a-d-i-o-dot-com.  I am featured on this week’s episode.  I don’t know anything about sports, but they were very happy to explain things to me.  And they were incredibly uplifting and complimentary even just introducing me on their show.  I felt like I was on This Is Your Life or something.  Like I won an award.  That was just my intro.  Within the first 5 minutes of the podcast.  And then I was just floating for like 5 more minutes and it sunk in, and I had to share, so I actually lost my bearings and interrupted Sea Dubbz while he was talking about football so I that could say thank you for my inro.  Which was awkward, but it was very sincere on my part.  And just to say how impressed I was.  How I expected the show to be a bit more confrontational because it focuses on competitive sports.  But it turned out to be one of the warmest, most inclusive experiences I’ve had in a long time.  It must’ve seemed pretty random for me to do interrupt like that.  Sometimes though, you gotta testify.  Fuzzy’s gonna be on an upcoming episode, here.  And Sea Dubbz is gonna talk to me too.  Hopefully J-Mez too.  Another big reason I had such a positive experience on Fuzzjock radio was because I was able to get some talking points about sports from my friend Starr MacKenzie.  She is a huge sports fan and a wonderful friend.  She’s a beautiful singer, and a joy to be around.  She helped me prepare to do that thing I don’t do, talk about sports.  And I think they should have her on the show.  No doubt.  fuzzjockradio.com.  I am on this week’s episode.

Thanks to Braden Saulsbury for the keyboard music in the background of this episode, and thanks to Tyler Watson for the guitar music.  Thanks to Dan Greenwood of the Mankato Free Press for the interview this last weekend.  From one interviewer to another: you are great, Dan, and I look forward to the article in the Mankato Free Press.  

Thanks to Yolotli Ek for helping me plan the live broadcast of The I Don’t Do That Gameshow, taking place at The What’s Up Lounge in Mankato MN on the evening of April 28th 2023.  I will be interviewing audience members, as they compete for prizes by revealing things they don’t do.  You can find a link to buy tickets at facebook.com/ochotunes/events.  Tickets are $10, and the show is 21+  If you’re in the audience, you don’t have to play but you certainly can.

You can also catch my band, Ocho and Friends at the What’s Up Lounge in Mankato MN on Feb 25th 2023.  We will be playing at the Lookout For Locals showcase with The Only, Onion Bun and One Hand Clap.  Featuring live art by Melanie Klimpel.  This show will feature the debut of Cheryl Kress as the newest member of Ocho and Friends.  Cheryl plays tenor sax and flute, and it is tasty.  

I have been Ocho, your host, chief engineer and producer.  I will continue to be for as long as I am.  I also composed and performed the theme song.  

If you or someone you know would like to come on this show and talk about something you don’t do, please apply today at ochotunes.com/guest. Get yourself on this show.  Get your friends on the show, and we will get into all of the things that we’re not into.

Thank you again to our guest Cathy.  And thanks to you for all you do and all you don’t do.  I’ll talk to you again if I’m lucky.

[theme music plays]

“…I Don’t Do That…”

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