Today I drove C-Man to work. Boy Detective fell asleep in the backseat due to the grossly unnecessary getting up at 5:00 a.m., so we headed home. After his nap, we went to the park, then to the library to meet some friends. Then we went home, did our thing until 5:15 or so, and went to pick up C-Man from work. He rode in the back with Boy Detective as we went back to the park, then home.
Boring as hell to read that paragraph, wasn’t it?
Sorry, I’m still not quite over the fact that I finally know how to drive. Comfortably. Routinely. So the above paragraph seems to me like a small miracle.
Partly out of self-defense to protect my mental health, and partly because I didn’t want my son to grow up thinking that women can’t drive, I just finally sucked it up and started operating heavy machinery several times a week. At the age of 33, I am now where most 17 and 18 year olds are. Suzanne Vega got her license at 40, so I beat her by 11 years, but between 29 and now I really barely drove. A few highway stints between here and Houston. A bit of tooling around the neighborhood. Nothing that would move me out of the “non-driver” column.
Now I just drive places if I want to go. Unless there’s a city stretch of highway involved. Unless it’s the 4th of July and I’m following my husband who is returning a U-Haul truck and he thinks it’s no big deal to lead me onto I-35. (Thanks so much, babe! Remind me to forget to do your laundry at some critical juncture!)
It’s not the intoxicating sense of power and control that several people rhapsodized it would be. (By the way, one of the things I hate most in the world is being told how I feel or how I’m going to feel. You’re not me.) Instead, it feels a lot like when I first started grocery shopping by myself. Like, what? I’m here by myself? Where’s my mom? Can everyone tell I’m new here? Am I going to get away with this? But it’s also no longer like gym class, where I’m being expected to execute some complex series of movements quickly with the whole world watching and I’m freaking out.
I also deeply regret that I didn’t start driving earlier. Before Boy Detective, when I really COULD have just gone anywhere. To think of all the thrift shopping I could have done while C-Man was lazing about in the morning on Saturdays! I could have gone to Goodwill instead of bugging him! It would have been a win-win! I didn’t anticipate how little regular driving it would take to make it feel normal. I thought there would be a couple of years where I still felt out of control at 35 mph in the city. If I’d known it would just take a couple of months, I might have done differently.
So yeah, I have finally conquered my feelings of terror enough to grow up and drive a car. My car, which I bought, and then had C-Man drive me around in for a couple of years.
Yes, there’s a reason my nom de plume is The Princess.