Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Not Driving

On Not Driving

I never learned to drive. This is an important distinction to make from "I never got my license" because the latter implies that I might have tried and failed. I did not. I never tried. I have been behind the wheel only a handful of times in my life, and although nothing catastrophic ever happened I also never attempted any complicated maneuvers, so its almost as if it never happened. If I were to start learning again now I would be starting over. A blank slate. On one hand I don't have any bad habits, but on the other I have a lifetime of accumulated internal stress regarding the issue.

In the 10 years since I turned 16 I have been answering these questions: Why don't you drive? Will you ever get your license? Usually this is out of mild curiosity.  Sometimes, though, these questions are asked in frustration by someone who is tired of being inconvenienced by my deficit. Ya know, this would be a much easier drive for everyone if you could take the wheel for a while. To which I respond I would be happy to take the wheel. You just have to decide if you're ready to die today. It isn't a flattering quality. I am missing an essential component of functional adulthood and I refuse to take responsibility for it when questioned. Now that I live in NYC and am no longer in a relationship with someone who is keeping track of such things, I rarely have to explain myself, but the shame persists. Furthermore, having the ability to get out of the city for a quick get-away is feeling more and more appealing now that I've been here for almost 2 years.

But that's now. The fact that I might possibly try to learn soon has no bearing on the fact that I have spent the last 10 years (11 if you count the year I had a permit before I turned 16) not doing it. To steal one of my favorite Louis CK phrases, "I already didn't do that". I'm aware that this isn't a normal state of affairs. Most people learn to drive because as a teenager or young adult they feel an impetus to establish their autonomy in the world which they cannot ignore. I MUST DRIVE. I MUST BE FREE. I did not experience this. At all. And everything else about me would suggest that I would. I rarely turn to others for help and being dependent on another person is repugnant to me. So why is this thing that so many people, many far less mentally and emotionally stable than I am, find so easy to navigate such a stumbling block for me? Am I really so overly pragmatic that I have reasoned away my want for a slightly higher quality of living?

I don't  have severe anxiety, although sometimes this is what I tell people when I don't feel like being scrutinized. Well you know how some people get nervous on planes? I'm like that behind the wheel and you can't really drive on anti-anxiety meds, ya know?. This is total horse-shit and I say it all the time, to the point where I've started to believe it myself. The real reason, I think, is that I am ambivalent about the issue and not doing it is so much easier than doing it, especially at this point since I would have to take a class and interact with strangers and DRIVE IN NEW YORK CITY. Then I'd have to deal with insurance and oil changes and a lifetime of mechanical stress. Not that it's an excuse not to do it. But I have yet to do it, and no concrete plans to do it. And no one is making me. Sooo...that's the that of that.

No comments:

Post a Comment