I don’t drive. Meaning I don’t have a driving license, I can’t drive and I certainly can’t parallel park. I know I could learn; the biggest morons in the world can drive, surely I can too – that’s not the point. The point is I haven’t learned yet and I’m 37.
If you are living anywhere other than right downtown in a big city, you are probably re-reading that to make sure you understood me correctly. That’s right: I DON’T DRIVE AND I’M 37. Actually, even born-and-bred city types are frequently incredulous, though they often know someone else my age without a driver’s license. Probably someone who, like me, enjoys boasting about his/her environmental consciousness, even though being mindful of my carbon footprint really has nothing to do with why I never learned to drive. (It’s laziness, if you must know.)
I raise this issue because I have grown extremely dependent of late on my driving friends, and my mom in particular, to get me to and from the hospital each and every day. Public transit is to be avoided whenever possible during cold/flu season because of my compromised immune system. And because it’s miserable to be out in the cold waiting for the streetcar. And also because let’s face it, its just way nicer to go with someone to these appointments and to have some company in the waiting room. Case in point: Today my brother came, and now I know how to play electronic poker.
Since my mother is the one who takes me most of the time, these trips to hospital have become little opportunities for us to visit and catch up – the silver lining on the mushroom cloud of radiation. However I think my backseat-driving is beginning to wear a little thin. I know it’s preposterous, but I can’t help myself – I have been a passenger my whole life and I know what should be done even if I can’t do it myself. Kind of like a food critic, or an art critic. (When I use this argument my mother reminds me that I despise critics of any kind and denigrate them at every opportunity.) We have now agreed that I will not judge or instruct her on her driving until I myself am capable of doing an equal or better job. Imagine if the chefs and artists could get the same deal from their critics??
But I digress.
The point is that I had started to think I might go my whole life without a driving license – and I may yet – but I’m no longer so content with the idea. Even though I suspect my husband and friends of having a betting pool on whether my daughter will get her license before I do (she’s two and a half) I long ago became deaf to their teasing. But now that I am required to make the short 7-cityblock trip to the hospital every single day it has started to feel a little silly not to be able to drive it myself. Cancer has taught me many things about courage and strength and hope. Could it be it’s meant to teach me to drive too?
Then again, if I get my license I lose the ability to boast about my zero-carbon footprint. Hmmm… self-reliance or self-righteousness? Tough call.