I have always taken everything extremely seriously. Every decision is gut twisting mental and emotional acrobatics. I don’t think this is particularly unique as far as human experiences go but one of the ways this analysis paralysis manifested for me was a bit on the less common side: I refused to drive.
I was convinced that getting behind the wheel meant that I would probably kill someone. This is a valid concern that I took more as inevitable than possible. So I just didn’t drive. When I finally traded in that expired learner’s permit for permanent identification, I had come to a delicious acceptance of my phobia. I no longer felt ashamed that I didn’t drive and I didn’t try to hide it. I really owned it and at that point there was no pressing reason to have a driver’s licence. I didn’t own a car. I didn’t need a car. I didn’t want a car. I did occasionally feel like a useless toddler when other people had to man the wheel on road trips. Thankfully I have amazing friends and family that couldn’t of given a shit if I knew how to drive a car or man the space station (except you dad, you have been a complete dick about the no driving thing the entire time).
And then I moved to North Carolina.
There is next to no public transportation in North Carolina. Everything is spread out. According to civil engineers, sidewalks are optional and, according to everyone else, crosswalks are mere suggestions. This is a place built for drivers. And if I was going to have any kind of a life here, I now needed to drive.
Driving was something I just assumed I would never do. Now I do it every day and my apprehension around it has evolved. And while I am grateful that I can drive, I am also equally grateful that I waited until now to do it. As I get older, I become friendlier towards myself. I am also more reflective now, rather than reactive. The passionate yet intense energy of my teens and twenties has mellowed and I feel as though I can see straighter. I see driving as this contradiction in that its simplicity has made a complete fustercluck out of our society but it also means I can buy candy at all hours. I am grateful for this skill rather than trapped by it.
I am not sure when the road will have run out of life lessons for me but right now, and I am listening. Please enjoy the occasional subsequent essay pasted together from my asphalt classroom notes.