Dear Margo: Driven Crazy

My family wants me to learn to drive, but I feel it would endanger myself and others: Margo Howard’s advice

Driven Crazy

Dear Margo: I am currently suffering mild psychosis. I’m 23 and have no driver’s license. My family wants me to get one because they don’t like driving me around. My fiancee doesn’t have one, either, but she’s out of school now and is learning this summer. The trouble is, I have disabilities, and I’m afraid I’ll kill myself or someone else if I drive. First, I have ADHD. I can’t sit still or pay focused attention for very long. Second, I have Asperger syndrome. When I’m paying attention, I tend to miss the big picture of what’s going on around me. Third, I am bipolar. Normally, that’s fine because I take meds, but occasionally, unpredictably, they need adjusting and I develop problems causing stiff muscles. When I stretch them, I get vertigo, and there are also times when I have no depth perception and see double.

My fiancee understands, but my grandmother, my mother and her fiance all keep nagging and pressuring me to learn to drive so I will be “independent.” It’s hard for me to ignore what they say because I live with them and they’re my family, but they always seem to bring it up when I’m at my most sensitive. Is there something I can say to them or show them that will convince them I can’t drive? Also, are there any resources for people in my situation? –Afraid To Drive

Dear Af: No offense, but your family sounds a little bit sadistic, a little bit clueless, and a little bit ignorant. It is nice that they want independence for you, but driving is not what you should be doing, both for physiological and emotional reasons. You would be a danger to yourself and to others. (I am in your boat, in a way, because driving started to make me nervous, and I gave it up.)

I would ask your treating doctor to explain to your family, in detail, why it would be dangerous for you to drive. (Maybe show them this column.) I am not exactly sure why they don’t take your word for it, but that appears to be the case. As for resources, some cities have a version of “The Ride,” a free service for people with disabilities. Check in your town. There are cabs and buses, of course, and soon your fiancee will be driving. Good luck, and stick to your guns. –Margo, rationally

A Tin Cup in a Wedding Invitation

Dear Margo: The daughter of dear friends is soon to marry. The couple is in their early 30s and has lived independently for several years. This is the first marriage for both of them. The invitation included a card stating that since they already have two of everything they would appreciate a monetary contribution. A check of their website suggests contributions to their European honeymoon or down payment on their house. Call me old-fashioned, but this seems beyond tacky. Checking with a close friend revealed that they don’t want to bother with checks or cash; they only want contributions through the website! I’m inclined to send a nice handmade card! Am I missing something? –Old Lady in Texas

Dear Old: You are missing nothing, my dear, but these 30-somethings sure are: manners and judgment. Old and new etiquette dictate that you do not mandate what a gift should be, and you certainly never ask for money. The specification about “website only,” lest they be burdened with checks or cash, is cheeky impudence. I even have something of a problem with registries because, really, who wants to send, say, one place setting? In any case, send them whatever you like — a handmade card would be just fine if that suits you. When the last dog is shot, do let me know if they managed to finance either their European honeymoon or a down payment. –Margo, disrespectfully

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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153 comments so far.

  1. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Oh My Lord! Letter #2 please tell me you’re kidding!

    How inappropriate. What a couple does with the monies they receive from their wedding is their own business. But it is the height of tacky to tell you guests “what” you will be purchasing with the money you may receive. How horrible. A European vacation? A new house?  Really? I agree with Margo, it is not the letter writer that doesn’t get it, it is the soon to be married couple. Simply horrible!

    Letter #1 – Welcome to the club! I am the worst driver in America. No one is as bad as I am. And the worst part is I know why I suck at driving and it is 100% because I am inattentive. I put on my make-up, fumble under the seat for things, look in the glove compartment, am basically distracted by shiny metal objects, ding cars when attempting to park, drive 15 miles BELOW the speed limit (because I’m afraid to drive fast)…..I am horrible! Which is why I drive 2 maybe 3 times a year tops. And when I do it is not fun, for me or those on the road beside me! :-)

    I have always believed, if you are like me – a terrible driver – or have a disability that could affect your driving, stay off the roads! Few things bring me to tears more than hearing of car accidents that take a life.  People through no fault of their own that left the house not knowing today would be their last day. That is unfair and just wrong.

  2. avatar Diagoras says:

    You are the second person I know of who has said 100 guests at a wedding is a “small” wedding! That boggles my mind! I had 25 at my wedding and felt completely overwhelmed and grateful for those who didn’t show!