Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stuff I don't tell people right away: Driving

So the "cat is out of the bag" on Instagram. This is another topic that I try really hard not to bring up, but it is something that is darn near impossible not to. 

I don't drive.

I don't have a license, I don't have a permit (though I have taken the written test and passed every time. I understand the rules and regulations of driving), I do not even know how to drive.

It is a bit of an odd thing, I know. I get raised eyebrows, almost as if I have too many DUI's and I have a suspended license or something. I don't. But then I still have to explain why don't I drive. This is like having to get up in AA and confess your sins. And I seem to have to do this ALL THE TIME. It's awkward and embarrassing to have to tell everyone your darkest fear.

There is only one real reason: Just the thought of being behind the wheel is absolutely terrifying for me.

What do I usually get in response? "I could teach you, you just need practice". Um. No. You are not listening to me. If I told you I was terrified of spiders would you tell me that you would go to the store and buy me a bunch of spiders and have them crawl all over me because obviously I have just been deprived of the experience therefore you will remedy that?
Just walk through here, easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I get that driving is no big thing for most people. Somehow being in a two ton machine flying at 60+ miles per hour among other people in possession of the same thing is very easy for them. I can fly on an airplane no problem, though. Many people find that terrifying and don't fly. Not many people bat an eyelash at that. There are six million car accidents per year in the United States. So what if only 35000 deaths result? Just because you aren't likely to die in a car accident vs a plane crash (where you most likely will die), doesn't mean you won't be seriously injured. Or be responsible for injuring another human being. That is just not a responsibility that I want to have.

And it isn't like I haven't tried to get behind the wheel. I have. I paid for one of those driving companys to teach me. I was very clear to them that I was a very nervous driver. They said no problem. They sent me the douchiest douche that ever douched. He was accustomed to a kick back job of sitting and doing nothing and letting teenagers do their four hours of driving that they already know how to do. 

I CRIED THE ENTIRE TIME. Two freaking hours.

He was not equipped to deal with this. Who is, though, really? It was a two parter, but I only did the first part. I canceled the second day. You want to know what the thought of having to go through that again did to me? I was balled up in a corner in the kitchen, crying, and shaking, and bathed in sweat. I know I was bathed in sweat because I was in a PUDDLE of it on the linoleum floor*. Is this someone that you want behind the wheel?

My dental hygienist was the first one to tell me (yes, another story from her! lols) that it is better for a scared driver not to get a license and be on the road because she has first hand experience of this. Yes, from her watermelon friend

The two of them were in her friends car, her friend was driving. They were on a winding road, that was a bit narrow, when a large semi appeared, coming in the opposite way of them. What did the friend do? SHE LET GO OF THE WHEEL AND CLOSED HER EYES AND SCREAMED. My hygienist had to grab the wheel. She says that this is stuff her friend does all the time. I have noticed that as a passenger, I close my eyes when I feel things are getting a little stressed. Which is often. Okay when you are not driving, so not okay when you are.

Everyone seems to think they are an above average driver, and let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT. Not everyone is good at the same thing on the same level. I'm not sure why people think that I would be, at the very least, an average driver. Ha. I am the one that lives in my head and I know what I am capable of and this driving thing? Not happening.

I understand this limits my lifestyle and makes me a bit more dependent. Lucky for me I was born in a city with one of the better public transportation systems that only keeps getting better. And also lucky for me I have a very understanding husband. He wasn't at first, but he has come to understand it a little bit better. He is not the most empathetic creature by design, so this is progress :)

This is where my sisters phrase comes in handy again: Easy for you is not easy for me.

*Yes I was naked. I know a few of my story's seem to involve me being in the nude so let me explain. I am not a nudist; I don't want other people to see me naked nor do I wish to see other people naked. It's just that I see no reason if I'm home alone, and weather permitting, for me to put clothes on. I'm just going to have to take those off and put on other clothes for sleeping and have a giant pile of clothes to wash. OR, I could just stay naked and have less chores. So really it is because I am lazy.


  1. So what if you don't drive?! That's your personal choice! Kudos to you for not risking your life as well as others by forcing yourself to get a license and drive just because it's what everyone else does. It's good to know that if you don't drive or don't have a car to get somewhere that there ARE ways to get to where you need to go instead of constantly bumming people for rides. I think the transportation systems are getting better & better because of this! Great read!

    1. Aw, thanks :) It can be hard to go "against the grain" as it were. I don't think people mean to be invasive or mean with their inquiries, it's just that its an odd thing and it perplexes them. At least that is how I want to think is going on.

      And thank god for internet shopping! That has been a lifesaver for me :)

  2. I know firsthand that one person's beliefs or fears are not another's, so I try to never criticize. Everyone has a different journey and that is OK!!!

    1. Yes, it can be hard to change your perspective :) I've been guilty of judging other people for things like being scared of flying: when hello! this is a very logical fear and not unlike my driving one. I'm glad that as I get older, I feel like I am less judgmental and critical of other people.

  3. This is a really great post. I know what you mean about people being squigged out by non-drivers. The thing is, if you're afraid, you shouldn't be doing it. I'm a fine driver...I used to be cocky and I'd speed and by now I've had enough times of spinning 360's or hitting the ditch that now I'm a slower, more careful driver. Heavy traffic really makes me nervous and it's actually a major reason I have never moved from my hometown. My hometown only has a population of about 15,000 and yet I'm still scared during heavy traffic times, especially in the downtown, 25mph, congested and lots of pedestrians and one-ways areas. The population swells to more than double this during the week of the Cherry Festival in the summer and I avoid the entire area. If I do go down there, I take a bus or a taxi, which is not easy in this small city. I failed/panicked and dropped my road test 3 times before finally barely squeaking by. I'm better, but...still. My parents never taught me to drive, they were like "that's what driving school is for." Yeah, didn't work that way in my world. All the other teenagers knew how to drive and I was like "ugh....I have no idea what I'm doing." I didn't ultimately get my license until I was 19. I guess what I'm saying is that even though I am a driver, I can totally relate. It's actually one of my things. If I ever had to go to other cities for work, I would do anything and everything to NOT drive. Taxis, hiring someone, whatever. Driving is scary and the only reason I can handle it is because I know my way around this town. And like I said, I avoid certain areas.

    1. Don't ever move to San Jose then! I think the population is almost at a million! :)

      I think that if I were born in a much smaller populated place, I think I would have been more brave to learn to drive. When I went through Nevada and Utah the roads were so straight and empty, those would be perfect!

      I have modified my life a bit for my lack of transportation, but it helps that I'm a hermit :) My husband loves to be the driver anyway, so even if I knew how to drive, he would be the one driving if we were going somewhere together.

      My parents never took the initiative to teach any of us to drive either, they waited for us to show interest and paid for classes. I never showed interest much to my dads amazement. He couldn't understand not wanting independence. That's what buses are for! Lols.

      My house if five minutes away from the lightrail which I know how to take to my work so I feel safe in case my husband can't take me.

  4. My BFF is almost 40 and he has never, ever driven; is just as terrified of it as you are. And we live in Houston which is probably one of the most car obsessed cities in the country and has a HORRIBLE public transit system, but he makes it work (and he lives way out in the 'burbs, like 60 miles away from the center of the city). Ironically (I'm reading your posts backwards), he was learning to ride a motorcycle/scooter thingy, and when he was practicing in his rather rural neighborhood, he got scared of an oncoming car and drove into a ditch, breaking a rib. That ended his very short lived attempt at self mobility.

    1. Ha! Why is the idea of driving a motorcycle less scary??? I have no idea, but at least I'm not alone with that sentiment! I feel like I should make a support group for adult non drivers :) I always love hearing about people who don't drive! Tina Fey doesn't have a license either, so somehow having a celebrity in my corner makes me feel better.