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to be annoyed with my colleague's viewpoint towards myself and dh, all because we're non drivers?

(67 Posts)
onthepier Mon 09-Nov-09 11:04:50

I work part-time, and a colleague on the same bank of desks as me feels she has the right to comment on every aspect of my lifestyle in front of the others! I'll explain, myself and dh are non-drivers, he passed his driving test in his late teens with no problem, (he's just turned forty now!), but has never wanted to drive since.

I'm dyspraxic although I don't make it public, have spent a lot on driving lessons in the past and found it came so unnaturally to me that I stopped. Even my last driving examiner, (I've taken several tests!), told me that with the best will in the world, I just haven't got the natural co-ordination skills that come easily to a lot of learner drivers.sad

Anyway, years on, we have two school age children, live in a lovely central area, in walking distance from our work and school, and are very close to any public transport we need to take. There are two very reliable taxi firms we use a lot so we manage fine without a car. We're lucky to both be fairly high earners so paying for taxis/public transport is no problem at all, considering we don't pay out for a car! Both mine and dh's family live over 100 miles away and we vist both sets by train every few months, and in between they come to us, the travelling for us is no problem at all. When we go on holiday we taxi to the airport/ferry terminal and back, we've done it for years although some people just assume it would be impossible for us to go abroad!hmm

Anyway, my colleague always buts into any conversations, with comments to me like, "However do you food shop every week?/I can't understand you having done most of your Xmas shopping, a bit limited where you can go aren't you?/I suppose you can't even nip into town unless somebody's free to give you a lift/Your kids must miss out on parties, clubs, everything/I just can't believe a man of your dh's age can't drive!"

I'm finding her comments irritating and patronising, I've tried saying we're happy with our lifestyle thanks very much, but she just shakes her head and carries on! I don't like the fact she says this in front of the others, why can't we live our life as we wish without this prejudice? I've had it from other people in the past too, my dh is better at ignoring it though!

If anything our children do more than most, and it's not unusual for me to ferry their friends around by public transport too, which they seem to love!

PerArduaAdNauseum Mon 09-Nov-09 11:07:15

YANBU at all - maybe she's jealous that you haven't got the constant drain on your income that a car is, even before you drive anywhere envy

fernie3 Mon 09-Nov-09 11:08:58

we have no car and people say this to us too. We have no problems doing any of the things we need so YANBU to be annoyed, ignore her and enjoy not paying out for a car (I know we save alot)

Mcdreamy Mon 09-Nov-09 11:10:19

She's really missing the point isn't she. You choose to live without a car just as she chooses to have a car. YANBU, some clever mumsnetters need to come up with some clever patronising come backs for when she starts up again. B ut whatever you do - keep smiling, don't let her get you down!

SolidGoldBangers Mon 09-Nov-09 11:10:31

Actually, the issue isn't really about cars and driving, it's that this woman is enjoying winding you up. Tell her one more time you are sick of her comments and that in fact it's car-dependent bucketheads like her who are ruining the planet, and if she still carries on, report her to HR for bullying.
(Fellow car-free person here BTW - it's never been a problem for me either),.

ZacharyQuack Mon 09-Nov-09 11:11:14

Perhaps you could marvel at how she lives with such a lack of imagination?

OneTwoBuckleMyShoe Mon 09-Nov-09 11:11:33

YANBU I use internet shopping so much now that even though we do have a car we rarely use it beyond DH going to work!

Cicatrice Mon 09-Nov-09 11:12:50

Some people just can't see past their car. We have been car less for more than 10 years, and, like you live very centrally and don't need one.

It actually bothers my DH's family (he can drive) that we don't have a car though we could afford to. If you live in a city it can be a wildly unnecessary expense.

Try to ignore her. She is strange.

AvrilH Mon 09-Nov-09 11:15:10

YANBU - she has outed herself as a judgemental fool

I am also dyspraxic and finally passed a driving test two years ago. I could never have done it, had we not already owned a car, and I had an incredibly patient DH to give me lots of practice. I rarely drive now and doubt I will ever be a confident driver, though I am competent.

I did it to allow me to occasionally be designated driver, or to drive for an hour or so to allow DH a break on long journeys. Neither of those reasons are relevant for you!

MorningTownRide Mon 09-Nov-09 11:17:20

onthepier - DH and I are the same. We both passed in our late twenties and never got round to buying a car. We can drive, we choose not too.

We live east London/ Essex.

DH walks to school with the dcs, we get food delivered, other shopping gets done as a day out on the bus/ train/ tube and we visit the GPs by train too.

Some people get cars when they are 17 and just can't comprehend life without one. Now, there are more people with two cars than there are with no car so we are a bit of an oddity!

I've certainly been questioned by people on how we 'cope' without a car, but nothing unpleasant. Your colleague is a plonker. You're saving the environment and getting more excercise etc etc

Francasaysrelax Mon 09-Nov-09 11:17:38

What SGB said.
I haven't driven for more than 12 yrs and have survived!

AvrilH Mon 09-Nov-09 11:19:52

There is something about non-driving, lack of homeownership etc, which brings out patronising sneers in people who have little else to be proud of in their lives.

SGB put it well.

pigletmania Mon 09-Nov-09 11:22:19

YANBU i am a non driver and like you i am a bit dyspraxic, I failed 4 tests but i would like to learn in my own time not when people tell me i should. I do get comments from people along the lines that, arent you driving yet!, when are you going to learn!, and basically pittying looks which does make me angry. I did not fail badly last test was just a signalling error. I totally agree with you, anyway if i had my licence there is no way we could afford a second car, petrol,insurance,mot etc until i start to work again.

PrettyCandles Mon 09-Nov-09 11:26:46

Her attitude is offensive. Fair enough to be fascinated by a different lifestyle, but to continue on and on, particularly in a negative manner in front of colleagues, is unacceptable.

I agree with SGB that you need to find some way to confront her and let her know that you find her comments offensive. You should not have to suffer such behaviour at work, I think it amounts to bullying.

gorionine Mon 09-Nov-09 11:30:00

I do not drive (dh does though) because I never wanted too,. I always went wherever I wanted too on buses, trains, and even by footshock! I never felt that I had less freedom than anyone else , if anything I loose far less time as I do not have to go 2/3 times arround town to find a parking space!

BigGitDad Mon 09-Nov-09 11:31:46

I'm a non driver too now due to eyesight issues, but I don't miss it very much. Though I loved driving. But I get about fine. We do live in london and public transport is good here.
Your colleague is an arse.

MillyR Mon 09-Nov-09 11:36:01

I am in a similar position as I can't drive, although DH can. A friend of mine is always making patronising comments about it and was doing so on Friday. I am in a bit of a rage about it (on the inside) and would love some comebacks suggested by MN.

I am on the verge of being judgey about her life, and I really don't want to do that to her, because it would be very mean.

onthepier Mon 09-Nov-09 11:37:43

Thanks for your responses, I agree PrettyCandles, I'm starting to feel bullied although I'm embarrassed to admit it. I see myself as a pretty strong person but then people do comment that I'm quiet, maybe this lady is looking for a target. I haven't long been working in her section.

I do know though, that her dh needs their one car for work every weekday, so he drops her into work and picks her up. Her mum is just round the corner with a car in the day, so she tends to drive her to pick the dc's up from school, and if anything needs doing in the week this lady tends to wait until there's somebody available with a car. She says she just couldn't contemplate going on the bus unless it was a real emergency!hmm Buses are my day to day transport and I DON'T have to rely on other people, unlike her. I'm getting angry again just thinking about her so it must be getting to me,hmm

UnquietDad Mon 09-Nov-09 11:45:17

There are always patronising sneers towards non-drivers, especially male ones. This seems to be acceptable for some reason.

The flipside is stupid, giggling, girly, pant-wetting delight at the "manliness" of DHs and DPs at the wheels of their cars.

I've seen both on here, sadly.

foxytocin Mon 09-Nov-09 11:48:31

I can almost hear her. I have one like that at work. Time to be a lot more upfront with your answers to her. Or maybe put her on the back foot.

Try saying that surely how your family lives without a car is not rocket science and you can't understand why she finds it so difficult to comprehend. That way the fault looks like hers. grin

Well done you for getting on so well without a car!

thedollshouse Mon 09-Nov-09 11:53:24

YANBU. Dh has a car, I don't, I would love one but can't afford it. I am getting increasingly annoyed by people telling me to go and have driving lessons, I can drive but can not afford a car. I would love a car and it would make my life so much easier but I don't have the money. When people make negative comments I have started telling them that I am happy to accept donations, seems to shut them up.

I am also dyspraxic and found learning to drive a real struggle, I had literally hundreds of lessons but was lucky enough to pass first time. It was hard going but one day it just seemed to click.

Poledra Mon 09-Nov-09 11:53:40

Well done you on getting by without a car. We only have one car, and we are starting to be seen as oddities quite a bit hmm, never mind not having one at all. Mind you, I wish my DH would learn to drive, as I have to do all the driving wherever we go (public transport is somewhat errm erratic in our village).

StealthPolarBear Mon 09-Nov-09 11:54:09

I am one of those car obssessed people I'm afraid - I have always had a car and relied on it and I'm a bit blush to admit that I don't know how people manage without one. I hope I'd never be as forceful as her though!

EndangeredSpecies Mon 09-Nov-09 11:55:02

as unquietdad suggested, the "I just can't believe a man of your dh's age can't drive!" suggests that she finds men who don't drive to be less virile in some way. Try telling her that research has demonstrated that the size of a man's car is inversely proportionate to the size of his XXXX, and that yours couldn't find a car small enough. Horribly vulgar but it might shut her up.

purpleduck Mon 09-Nov-09 11:56:11

"Perhaps you could marvel at how she lives with such a lack of imagination?"

I think there lies your answer grin

Perhaps when she says that she can't imagine how you get around, give her a slightly pitying look, and say "Sweetie, don't fuss your pretty little head worrying over such big thoughts" Or something.

I only just passed last year, and I was soooo fed up with people making THOSE kind of comments - the "oooh, I don't know how you manage".

I always think that they are so dependant that THEIR options are narrowed - they can't use the legs/ brains they were given to be able to see any other options besides getting around by car.

When I was back home (in Canada) we had a rather large dumping of snow - people with cars couldn't get out of their driveways, so may people didn't bother to go to work.
Me, I just did what I did everyday - took the bus!

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