Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cars, too

Do one thing every day that scares you.
   -Eleanor Roosevelt

That's a great quote, and one I think of a lot when I'm trying to take on new things. Trying to achieve this daily seems like a bit of a stretch to me, though when I think about daily life during Eleanor Roosevelt's time, maybe it wasn't so hard. I mean, what was hair removal like back then? Probably frightening.

Yesterday I did something that was quite scary: I signed myself up for driving lessons. Well, just one lesson -- but with any luck there will be more to follow.

Source unkown

I am probably not the typical driving school student. I actually have my driver's license. I passed my road test more than 10 years ago, and even though I have barely driven since then, the state of New York believes that I am totally capable of operating a 2,000 lb. motor vehicle.

I am not.

I have totally forgotten everything. I have a vague recollection that the gas is on the right (it is, yes?), and that's about it.  But it is time to change that.

Why don't I drive? Well, there was a car accident right before college. It was terrible and life-changing, and it was the excuse I used to stop driving, but it wasn't the reason. At that age I really didn't wanted to drive, and it was a relief to be able to stop. I had seen friends get their licenses and start doing really stupid things behind the wheel. And learning to drive was mostly miserable. My mom tried to teach me in her Nissan Sentra with a manual transmission (not a great experience). I was dragged to Driver's Ed because all my friends were signing up, and I spent Saturday mornings in a car with an extremely unpleasant instructor (terrible experience; I don't wish bad things on people, but if that woman ended up with anal warts I would not shed a tear).

Eventually the bad lessons were over and I managed a decent enough 3-point turn and parallel park to earn my license. But still, I wasn't excited. What I see now is that I just don't think I was ready to drive. While plenty of kids are ready at 16 or 17, I think I was meant to be a bit of a late bloomer and probably should have waited until I was a little older. My gut was trying to tell me something, but I wasn't ready to listen.

Sounds like a good excuse to me!
I always thought that eventually I would start driving again, but up until now I have managed to be car-free. I've spent my adult life living in Boston and New York City where it is actually kind of an advantage to not be saddled with a car. And even though I travel a lot for work, I've found ways around getting behind the wheel. So I haven't driven...until now.

There are a couple of things that brought me to this point:

1. Even though I feel comfortable with the reasons I don't drive, I don't like to tell people that I don't drive. I feel self-conscious about it. I don't want to feel that way.
2. Re-learning to drive is on my Lovely Life List. So I have to do it.
3. There's an opportunity that I'm pursuing that would have me living outside of NYC for a little while. In a city without much public transportation. So if I want to do this, I'm going to have to unleash my inner road warrior.

I found a driving school that has AMAZINGLY great reviews, and I feel good about trying this again with a qualified instructor. And even though there is a little part of me that feels terrified nervous, I am mostly excited. Regardless of whether I hate it or love it, tomorrow I will be a driver again.

My gut approves.

PS -- To future blog readers who come across this post in the archive -- you should know I posted this on the same weekend that Pixar's Cars 2 movie opened. The title is both timely and clever, and if that doesn't translate in the year 2019, I'm sorry.


  1. I give you a huge high five for conquering your fear! Just take it slow. I got into a really bad accident 9 days after getting my license when I was 16. But living in FL, not driving is not an option. My mom insisted that I drive right away!

    p.s. Love your p.s. Made me smile! :)

  2. Thanks! And I'm happy to say...I did it! I was a little rusty but it wasn't terrible at all.

    And yes, logically I totally agree with getting back behind the wheel soon after an accident, it is the best way. For me it was a more of a circumstance thing -- my car was totaled, and the only other car in the family was my mom's (and I really didn't know how to drive a stick). Then I went off to college a few weeks later where the opportunity to drive went away for a while.

    But your comment is actually very in FL, not driving is not an option. You may be a little bit psychic, too ;)

    And thanks for humoring my dorkiness :)