But I finally did get my driver's license at eighteen, and I used it only when necessary. I commuted to and from my classes at the local community college and thence to my part-time job at the bank. Happily, everyone else in my life loved to drive. I started to wonder if I somehow chose my friends and even my husband based upon their willingness to drive. Even my teaching job was only two and a half minutes away, from driveway to parking spot.
It was a lifestyle less than ideal, however, and I really felt as if my wings were clipped. But my discomfort with driving coupled with my lousy sense of direction made it Just One Of Those Things. Where would I go, anyway, that I wouldn't want to go without Rick or one of my friends?
My regular readers may recall that when I retired, Rick's present to me was a GPS. Since that day almost four years ago, I have made great use of it, taking solo trips to Virginia, Maryland, and lots of places here in Ohio. My little Prius is on the road almost every day, and driving is No Big Deal to me anymore.
And while I can't claim to be an expert driver, I have driven enough now to have noticed some things. I'm presenting them here, and I'd like to see if you've noticed them, too.
1. Buicks go more slowly than other cars.
2. Men wearing hats drive very, very slowly.
3. Vans are not allowed to go the speed limit.
4. It is a myth that red cars speed.
5. Old, green Ford Tauruses go slowly, and they cannot change lanes.
6. The bigger the pickup truck, the more slowly it goes.
7. The larger the vehicle, the greater the chance that I will get stuck behind it for eleventy hundred miles.
As you can perhaps determine from this list, I am often in a position wherein some cars are, as St. Patsy would say, "puddleducking." I am not often in a hurry, but Patience is still something I work at, and it irks me to no end to have other individuals impede my progress.
Buicks, for example, have no exception to their rule. The other day, I was behind a sporty-looking, black Buick two-door, brand new. Its windows were so tinted that it looked like the Batmobile. It actually revved its engine at the light. "Yes!" I thought. "This is one Buick that will let me get my ice cream home before it becomes a milkshake." Except...no. The car daintily crept away from the green light like a moribund snail. Could I neatly veer into the other lane? Of course not. Everyone else behind me was doing that. Even a red Ford Aerostar.
Sometimes, like the red Aerostar example, you get a terrible combination. This is what I fear when I am on a No Passing Zone two-way highway. Inevitably, I experience a 6/7 Combo or a 3/4 or even the Dreaded 1/2/4/7. Sometimes, The Hat Thing is a Thing All Its Own, and it is a Wildcard that can complicate any of the above. Toss in a few other variables (bumpersticker sentiments, cellphone usage, presence of DVD screens) and I can pretty much determine whether or not I'll be on time/serene/growling/needing to reach into the wine fridge.
It is not simply a question of Me Leaving Earlier, for often, I'm not due anyplace by a certain time. It is just that I want To Get There. Expeditiously and efficiently. I do not want to sightsee. I do not want to feel as if I am appearing in a slow motion sequence about traffic patterns in a Highway Department documentary.
Or, is that wrong?
Today, I laughed and laughed as my Prius and I finally passed the bigass flatbed truck going 43 mph in a 65 mph zone on the state highway. There was no one else on the road, but this hat-wearing guy was in my way and I was tired of looking at his ugly back end. That was a 7/2, for those of you scoring at home. I still had twenty more miles to go, and I wasn't going to stare at him in slo-mo the whole damn way.