You're reading an old entry from Lexi Kahn's online diary, formerly called Jungle Sweet Jungle, changed to Low Budget Superhero in October 2005.
The One About Driving
(November 30, 2006)
In last entry, the Boogie Man/Boojie Man entry, I hinted at some "driving" issues. I might as well get it out now and move on.
I used to claim that I had a driving phobia by way of expressing how intensely I hated to drive. I am not schooled in phobias, so I had no basis for my claim. Though I do enjoy those online phobia lists such as, well, The Phobia List. Check that out. That will make anyone feel better about themselves. You read those lists and say hey, I may have issues but at least I don't fear flutes (Aulophobia), paper (Papyrophobia), or my favorite, the Great Mole Rat (Zemmiphobia).
I hated, and I mean white-knuckle HATED, driving when I first learned. I called it a phobia. My reasoning was sound, so let's take a look.
Firstly, my own mother never drove when we were growing up, neither did my grandmother. Only the men in our family drove the cars. One time when I was about six and my brother about three, my father put my mother behind the wheel of the Ford Fairlane and told us kids that "Mommy is going to drive!" and my brother, fearing for his life, started to bawl to high heaven. Five years later when I was about eleven the aunt we saw the most got her license; then I noticed my other aunt driving, then I noticed friends' mothers drove and so I realized eventually that women CAN drive a car.
Secondly, in high school when it came time for Driver's Ed class, every other person in my class was being schooled by their parents. Taken out in the family car and taught what to do. That's how it worked in our school, you get the real world driving experience at home and take these after school classes to prepare for the written exam. Except me. I didn't get any home-based driving lessons. Instead I got my pothead asshole father scoffing at my repeated plea for driving lessons by saying "You can't DRIVE!" I kept saying that I had to go out on the road with the Driver's Ed teacher before they could sign off that I was ready to receive a Learner's Permit and take the real exam at the DMV. "Are you kidding? You can't DRIVE!" So it came time to drive with the the Driver's Ed teacher. He didn't believe me when I told him that I had never been behind the wheel before. Ever. Not once. He took me out on the highway and I crashed the Driver's Ed car into a Ryder truck.
Moral of the story: When you are 15 years old, have only practiced braking on a simulated foot pedal in the Driver's Ed class and have no concept of operating the motor vehicle or, say, looking in rear view mirrors, merging onto I-84 is really no place for you.
Oh, by the way, during all this Driver's Ed drama of please-PLEASE-dad-can-we-go-out-today-I-need-to-practice, I looked out the window once to see my little brother, 12 years old at the time, in the driver's seat of the car while our pothead asshole father let him drive up the driveway. They started to do that all the time then, so my brother learned to drive sooner than I did. It would really have been helpful to me if I had been allowed to drive up the driveway, but I was only 16 and taking Driver's Ed and begging for lessons, so I guess it made more sense to teach the 12 year old instead.
Learning to drive. Another in an endless line of failed milestone in my pointless family. "You can't DRIVE!" Fuck you. Fuck you to death.
I'm, um, still working through some stuff.
Anyway, in college I arranged my own driving lessons from a driving school, got my license but was pretty shaky behind the wheel, then Hub filled in the details like "you only need to glance at the speedomoter, don't stare at it" and "you tend to drive where you look, so don't look at the cars coming at you in the other lane, they are not going to jump the line and crash into you."
Once I learned how to control the car really well, I became a really good driver. The car became an extension of myself, I didn't even have to think about it anymore. But I still hated driving, so I examined why: at some point I realized that the thing I hated the most about driving was getting lost. I didn't get over that until after the first hundred times I got totally lost. What I realized was, you know what, there is only a finite, quantitative amount of "lost" you can be, and that, really, wherever you go, there you still are. So I'm lost, so what. It took losing my way a whole lot and realizing that I can always find the highway again, always get to where I'm going and that I'll be simply "late." Big deal. It was as though I had been dealing with some idea that "lost" meant, I don't know, falling off the edge of the planet into a deep dark endless inky void.
Now that I don't have a car and my license expired, I kind of miss driving.
I sure don't miss insurance, repairs, registration, inspections, gas, tickets, digging out after a storm and most of all, trying to park in Boston. Now THAT'S a deep dark endless inky void.
. . . . .