Am I addicted to driving my car?

car.JPGI like driving my car. I need to drive my car to get to places. Are people lining up to create an addiction to cars? Not being over 100 years old I wasn’t around when cars were first delivered to the mass market. However back when cars were first delivered to the mass market, life was tougher. People had jobs that actually produced things and kept them occupied. They slaved away in factories, created things, grew things, sold things. There weren’t anywhere near the number of experts or people with jobs whose main function seems to be poking their nose into other people’s business.

I am far too lazy to go and do the research but I suspect that people who drove their cars a lot in 1920 weren’t hauled off to a psychologist because they were neglecting to keep their fridge properly stocked, or not using their horse and buggy as much as they were before they got their car. I even suspect that the first couple of people to own a car spent an inordinate amount of time actually driving their car. It was probably enormously fun, and had a high novelty factor. They probably also drove about picking up random people to share the experience of their new car, encouraging people they knew to get a car, and begin making use of the car. I’ve bought a new car, I know I found all sorts of excuses to drive it; I even gave people I knew lifts to places to get them to also experience my new car. Back when cars were first available people probably wondered what on earth was the point. After all everything they needed they could pretty much walk to, people didn’t live far from where they worked, and for anything further there was a horse. However, I think it is a pretty sure bet that people who bought cars and drove cars were not castigated or shouted at by the tabloid media that they were addicted to their cars.

internetaddiction.jpgWhy then, are people becoming addicted to the internet? According to the popular media, Internet addiction is some kind of massive problem. Umm hello? How the hell does making use of an enormously useful thing make it an addiction? Hold on to your seats, but apparently students are neglecting their studies in favour of spending time on the internet.

“According to Mitchell, neglecting schoolwork and studying in lieu of perusing cyberspace is a definite sign of Internet addiction.”

Guess what? When I was a student I used to alphabetise my fucking record collection to get out of studying; I pulled weeds in the backyard, had an urgent need to reorganise my underwear drawer, visited obscure relatives not seen for months prior, baked cakes, jesus I even fucking exercised to avoid studying. Spending time on facebook does not mean you are addicted to the internet. It just means you are fulfilling a long held student pastime of creative procrastination. Compare stories with some ex-Uni students sometimes. It’s amazing the things you can come up with that are so desperately urgent right around exam time.

In fairness students are susceptible to getting addicted to all sorts of things, so it is possible some of them are addicted to the internet. Hell some of them are probably sniffing the light bulbs in their room and getting high. They’re students for christ sake, it’s what they do. Studying is something they most definitely do not do. University degrees are all about doing the least amount of studying for the most amount of entertainment. Frankly I am amused by these studies that seem surprised by students who avoid studying. I am assuming the people conducting these studies have actually attended university and possibly even participated in student life, rather than just spawning spontaneously into a fully grown researcher from a student’s unwashed lavatory.

The addiction in China seems particularly alarming as it seems an awful lot of Chinese people are getting addicted to the internet and it’s quite a deadly addiction in China. I’ve got a feeling if you spent three days doing anything to the exclusion of all other things that you would have health issues. Part of me suspects there might be some bias against this internet thing in China. Pardon me if I am sceptical of anti-internet propaganda coming out of China.

Can it be classified as an addiction if it is a useful thing? I need oxygen to survive, and would suffer sever withdrawal symptoms if I was to be denied oxygen. Not even the most unoccupied psychologist with tonnes of time on her hands is suggesting that I am addicted to oxygen. Oxygen is useful, so is therefore not an addiction even though I can’t seem to stop myself from literally inhaling the stuff 24/7.

I actually use the internet for a lot of things. Our family is spread out all over the globe. We can actually communicate cheaply and instantly using the internet – I am going to mark this down as a good thing. I don’t think anyone is going to accuse us of being addicted to our family. Are they? We bank on the internet, shop on the internet, work from home via the internet, do research, play games, look up stuff, resolve arguments using the internet, find out the lyrics to that annoying tune half stuck in your head, all sorts of USEFUL stuff. I am connected to the internet almost every waking hour of the day. Like electricity, running water, my car, doors, carpets, furniture, I can get by without it.

Like electricity, running water, my car, doors, carpets, furniture, I would much prefer to NOT get by without it.

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2 Responses to “Am I addicted to driving my car?”

  1. Thomas Bailey Says:

    I can function quite well without a car. I have biked considerable distances, San Francisco, Hollister, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Half Moon Bay. San Francisco and Oakland are about 70 km away, Hollister is 100 km. I have walked to Redwood City, 25 km away. I have also walked to downtown San Jose, 17 km away.

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