07 3 / 2012
Dearest of dear readers, I cannot begin to convey how truly sorry I am that it has taken me such an unjustifiably long time to write another post, especially since so much of that time was spent watching episodes of Say Yes to the Dress and drinking Caramel-flavored vodka.
I know I made a New Year’s resolution not to start any of my posts with an apology, but just as with my other goal of doing Pilates every night, the uniquely dulling chill of February broke my will. My octogenarian ankles and calf muscles’ tendency to Charley Horse didn’t help, either.
February was a shaky month for my mental and physical stability. As my last post indicated, Valentine’s Day marks a trying time of year for yours truly. The overwhelming sadness and boxes of Russell Stover usually leave me incapacitated for one to two weeks. Then, as fate would have it, just as I was crawling out of my Valentine’s hibernation, non-chocolate-related illness struck my weary bones. So sick was I that I had to pay not one, but two visits to my pediatrician.
By the way, in case you were wondering, being a 22 year old and going to a pediatrician is as precious as it sounds. You get to stand in the waiting room with your arms crossed because you’re too afraid to touch or sit on anything the sneezy toddler with the crayon up his nose has been near while simultaneously realizing that all of the other patients are young enough to be your grandchildren by Appalachian standards. The silver lining is that the nurses are far more understanding when you hysterically cry at the sight of shots and/or butterfly needles. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think grown-up doctors would have enough patience nor Justin Bieber stickers to medically cope with me.
Really, though, even illness is a cop-out because it truly does not take that much physical energy to write. Writers generally fall somewhere just above middle-aged CPAs on a physical fitness test, so unless you’ve broken all ten of your fingers, there’s no good reason not to write. As my fifth grade teacher would say, “No excuses! And work on that long division, you blithering idiots!”
Unfortunately, I am so good at making excuses and letting myself off of the hook for things. (Why, yes, Emily it is absolutely imperative you watch another episode of Cupcake Wars). However, there is one thing I am committing to for 2012. I’ve told family and friends, but I am stating it here to reaffirm my dedication: I am going to get my driver’s license.
Being 22 years old and not being able to drive is only slightly better than being 22 years old and seeing a pediatrician. My top three biggest issues with not having a license are: 1) you’re completely dependent on the kindness of your parents and friends to get you places; forget about ever feeling like a remotely competent human adult 2) you lose a boatload of money on cabs-conversely, you get to become friends with cab drivers, 3) you have to carry around your passport if you want to get into a bar; in case this was not completely obvious, alcohol and pocket-sized government forms of identification are a TERRIBLE mix.
In my defense (see? more excuses), I descend from a long maternal line of female non-drivers; we’re three generations of anti-feminist car jokes.
Let’s start with Grandma Hazel. Her husband, a World War II navigator who guided plans with failing engines over the Atlantic and safely landed them outside of Nazi territory, tried super hard to teach her how to drive, but to no avail. Grandma Hazel claims she was very close to passing her exam, but sped up and got nervous at the end because she really needed to go to the bathroom. I pretty much believe this, since the weak bladder has been passed down my maternal line, as well.
Then, there is my mom, who can actually drive, but prefers almost any activity less excruciating than a double root canal to the act of driving. My mother spent the first twenty some odd years of her life residing in places where she had no need for driving. Then, in 1987, she persuaded my dad that they should ditch their apartment in the Village and move to the suburbs (and what a swell idea that was) and her public transportation world caved in on her.
She was a trooper, navigating the suburbs without the ability to drive and with two kids in a tow-and let the record state these were two kids that did not like walking! I don’t know if this is the official straw that broke the camel’s back, and thereby paralyzed her last form of non-automobile transportation, but not being able to drive my dad to the ER when he fell down our stairs and broke his wrist was a likely factor in her learning to drive.
And learn she did! She practiced with my father and her father, and she passed the road test. Yet, while New York State has faith in her driving abilities, she does not. My mother drives really well, but driving with her is like taking out a loan from Bank of America; there are lots of restrictions and hidden fees. She does not drive on highways, outside of Southern Westchester, or in parking garages. If you want to go to the mall, be prepared to park at least two kilometers away and hoof it.
By the way, I am in absolutely no position to judge; she’s the one I am most dependent on for lifts. I’m just happy she’ll get me within vision of the mall.
I was able to scrape by through high school and college without driving (how? by having no sense of personal dignity and groveling for rides from any manner of acquaintances). However, now that I am back home, learning to drive seems like a necessity.
Unfortunately, I’ve tried learning to drive in the past. A person of average, baseline driving capacity could have passed the road test at least two to three times with all the hours and lessons of practicing I’ve had. However, when it comes to driving, I am all thumbs. Literally. Please, get out of my way if you see me attempting a three-point turn. Years of terrifying driving experiences have also taught me that I am really, really bad at guestimating spaces. My visual-spatial skills are just not all there.
G-d bless my father. He is the only bloodline relative who will get in a vehicle with me at the wheel. He’s seen me manage to straddle three head-on parking spaces and nearly killed us both at a blind turn, and yet he keeps telling me I don’t need anymore lessons. Then again, this may have less to do with his faith in me than his efforts to cut his losses on paying for over five years of driving instruction.
As I am making what is hopefully my final stab at getting my license, I am trying to channel my father’s inner calm, patience, and ability to parallel park. Dad, if I ever pass the New York State road test, you get the first ride-and I totally understand if you want to take a pass on that offer.