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by Abigail Van Buren

Women Who Don't Drive Shouldn't Get Free Ride

DEAR READERS: I'll be on vacation between Aug. 18 and Aug. 31. Don't panic -- I've selected some of my favorite letters from past years to fill the gap. I hope you enjoy them!

DEAR ABBY: You seem willing to let readers air their gripes, so here I am with mine: It's women who get free taxi service because they don't drive. "Mrs. I-Don't-Drive" has been bumming rides for years. All her friends are conditioned to pick her up and take her home, and they don't think a thing of it.

When you ask how come they don't drive, they'll tell you they don't have the patience, or the coordination, or the nerve to drive a car. Or else they say they panic in traffic, or that freeways freak them out.

It's my theory that these women never bothered to learn because it was easier to bum rides. And cheaper, too.

Abby, there are driving schools galore for anyone who wants to learn. And there's no age limit, either. My neighbor learned how to drive at 62! I've had it with these lazy freeloaders. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I feel better now. -- EDITH

DEAR EDITH: Glad you feel better, but for my part, anyone who panics in traffic, is freaked out by freeways and lacks the patience, courage or coordination to drive would do the rest of society a favor by not driving.

DEAR ABBY: After 10 years of marriage, my husband decided he wanted out. No reason. He just wanted out. We are both 32. I still love him very much and didn't want him to leave, but I had no choice, so I accepted his decision with a heavy heart.

We have been apart for nearly a year, and now that I am beginning to adjust to the separation, he decides that he "misses being married." He says he wants to come back for six weeks, then he will decide whether he wants to stay with me forever or stay away forever.

What do you think? -- WONDERING

DEAR WONDERING: Why should he dictate the terms of a possible reconciliation? Don't take him back unless you find out what went wrong with your marriage in the first place. Before allowing him to come back, see a family counselor, and insist that he get counseling, too. It's available through your Family Service Association. (It's in the phone book.) The organization offers excellent, confidential help, and fees are based on the ability to pay.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I decided to write to you about a disagreement we're having. My sister is going to the Cleveland Clinic next week for surgery. Her home is in Canada, but the clinic is only 65 miles from our home. I want to be near my sister, so I plan to stay at a motel near the clinic. My sister's husband plans to stay at the same motel, so to cut expenses we thought we'd share a room with twin beds.

I have known this brother-in-law for 13 years and we are very good friends. There is absolutely no physical attraction between us, never was, and never will be.

My husband is having a king-sized fit! He says he trusts me, and he trusts my brother-in-law, but he doesn't want us sharing a room. My sister doesn't see anything wrong with it.

What do you think? Hurry your answer. -- PLAIN DEALER READER

DEAR READER: I don't see anything wrong with it either, but unless your husband is comfortable with that arrangement, don't double up with your brother-in-law. It could be a very expensive way to save money.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600