Welcome back to What's Hot and New with the Kidz, a recurring feature brought to you by the New York Times, a Montessori-school newsletter devoted to understanding the hot and new mindset of contemporary Kidz. Today's focus: Why won't my Millennial drive?
The Times is confused. Confused because it can't remember where it parked its car, yes, but also baffled yet again by this new generation of layabouts, a generation so devoid of initiative that it refuses to turn life's ignition key and partake in the sacred American tradition of motoring. There has been a shift in driving trends, says the Times—a shift into low gear. According to Phineas Baxandall of the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and senior analyst for U.S. Pirg, it is a "shift that is largely rooted in changing demographics, especially the rise of so-called millennials — today’s teenagers and twentysomethings. 'Millennials aren’t driving cars,' he said."
Kids are not driving cars. Kids are not buying cars. Kids are not getting their licenses, and kids sure as hell are not shutting off their computers to drive a dumb old car. A recent study shows that “A higher proportion of Internet users was associated with a lower licensure rate... This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that access to virtual contact reduces the need for actual contact among young people."
Even when they do venture out of cyberspace, into IRL, some kids are getting on their bike cycles and using their Janglebangs and whatnot to figure out where they're going. Jacob Curtis, 29, told the Times he just uses his "smartphone, which helps him plot routes that blend biking and mass transit options." Bikes are artisanal cars.
Millennials are also opting for communistic mass transit over individual driving. In Charlotte, N.C.'s South End, for example, public transportation has helped transform a regular old neighborhood into "a Brooklynesque neighborhood," ideal for stores owned by men like Dan Mauney—who tells the Times he still cannot locate his car and is 42 (but his Tumblr definitely feels 24)—that exclusively sell men's underwear.
But also maybe not? Maybe kids are still driving? Robert W. Poole Jr., the director of transportation policy for the Reason Foundation, called these recent conclusions "exaggerated" and suggested that the reason kids are not buying cars is because cars cost money and they're broke as hell, thanks to "the very large degree of youth unemployment and underemployment."
So. Whatever? That's why they call it an OLDSmobile, right, 'cause driving is for the Olds. Tell us more, Gramps, about what you used to do when people were busy "having a job" and "not being part of a failed economic system." But not right now; you're driving and we're sexting Snapvines.