This topic comes up every once in awhile. If I mention that I have to find a ride to work because Keem isn’t working that day, people want to know why. If you (me, 37, reasonably intelligent adult) tell them that you don’t have a driver’s license, you get a lot of strange looks. I know what’s going through their heads (must be because of a DWI) but that’s not it. I’ve never had my license. I’ve had my permit twice but there is just something that keeps me from taking that big step. And that would be because I’m scared. Okay? I’ve said it. Whew. That felt pretty good.

Here are the two main reasons why:

Mom and I are going to Yellowstone on one of the vacations from Hell. I have just received my shiny new permit at the age of 18! Mom decides to let me drive. Okay, now no one told me that you couldn’t drive out of state on a permit so already breaking the law (and yes, I know that it’s on the back of the permit. Now). I’m driving down the highway, towing a camper, and all of a sudden the camper flies open and one of the mattresses goes whooshing out and hits the highway. Mom screams “Stop the car,” I do. She hops out and goes running down the side of the highway to get the mattress. When she is less than a yard away, here comes this car. These two people jump out of the car, grab the mattress and drive off as my mother is screaming at them and shaking her fist (because, yeah, that’s scary). She fumes back to the car, fastens the camper back together and proceeds to yell at me, even though she is the one who packed the camper and didn’t latch it properly. It is my fault. Why? Because I’m the one that’s driving. Yeah. It still doesn’t make sense 19 years later.

Same trip. Mom is terrified of driving through the mountains. So she elects that I, with my shiny new permit, will drive. I am doing fine until we hit the 19 miles of road construction. Picture it. The divided two lane highway is no more. The left side of the highway is closed and all that is keeping me from oncoming traffic is those little thin orange poles (because those will be so helpful in stopping a car accident). On my right, I am overlooking a mountain. Sheer drop down. In front of me is 19 miles of cars going the speed limit so I, as well as everyone behind me, should be content with going the speed limit, right? Ha. No, Mr. Semi Truck Driver behind me is not pleased with the fact that I am only able to go as fast as everyone in front of me. He is looming over the tiny car (and camper) and my mother freaks. This is actual dialouge (Please, I couldn’t make this stuff up. Who would believe me?):

Mom (hysterical, convinced she is going to die) – “Pull over! Pull over!”

DM (very calmly) – “Mom. If I pull over to the left, I’ll drive into oncoming traffic and we will die. If I pull over to the right, we will drive off the cliff and we will die. If I stop right here, that semi will crawl up our ass and we will die. Now. What would you suggest I do?”

Mom (after brief moment) – “You know, sarcasm is not very becoming.”

She’s never understood me.

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At 4:00 AM, Robert ~ Marlénè said…

I didn’t learn to drive until I was 29, I had plenty of friends with cars and pretty good public transit service; but it was fear that drove me to it (pardon the pun)… driving around with my Grandmother, who has the reaction speed of a lobotomized amoeba, who can’t turn her head far enough to see her blind spot, who simply panicked if someone tailgated her (and she always drove at least five mph below the speed limit so there was always someone tailgating her), was so scary that I learned to drive just so I could chauffeur her around. And of course, I enjoyed it so much that I do it all the time now just for fun.