Friday, July 14, 2006


when i was 21 i drove my car into a concrete wall.
(in one of those "whoops, where did that come from?" moments)

i had been driving home from an exceedingly good night at the dance club and
i had Kim Wilde's "Keep Me Hangin' On" blasting on the tape player--over and
over and over again--singing with all my dance club kid daze might--when all of
the sudden a concrete tunnel popped up where ,i swear, a concrete tunnel had
never been before...

In my (admittedly) inebriated state, i got out of the car and looked at what was left of my vehicle; rationalized that i could (somehow replace the completely smashed/missing part of the hood/car) "just pound that out at home" climbed back into the car and somehow drove the smoking wreck home, where i woke up my mother, trying to convince her that maybe someone had hit me in the parking lot; she did not think that made much sense, given my state and the state of the auto so she tried to report an accident which the police couldn't be bothered with until morning.
An officer did indeed come the next morning, and after looking at (the remains of) my car, and (after reading me my rights) hearing my recount of the event, he somehow found it unbelievable, and thought it more likely that i had been involved in a hit and run.
So i was left an open case.
After a couple of months, and a couple of detectives, and further interviews, and a couple of trips to said concrete wall, nothing else ever came of it. Except that i remained carless for the next thirteen years. Sometimes i miss those years. Yes it was a pain having to walk everywhere, or to plot out bus schedules, or to have people pick me up, or to borrow cars; but it was so much less stressful not to drive--and i seemed to rush less--because i had to make the bus (or the pickup point, or whatever)--i couldn't leave it for the last minute--and i could do my homework on buses, or listen to music, or observe people (especially at downtown bus stops--so very interesting) Almost any time i spent in vehicles was someone Else's stress--all i had to do was occasionally point out the big semi-truck that was about to kill us all--avoiding death was all someone Else's responsibility.
And i got in my exercise with the walking, and i used to rationalize that my life expectancy was longer because i spent less time in cars (that of course was blown my first four years back in the commuter life when i was working two jobs spending about eight hours a week at the least in rush hour traffic, but oh well). I also really enjoy walking. I even enjoyed the time i walked home from the hospital really high on Demerol because i had convinced the ER nurse that my roommate was going to pick me up and i didn't want to spend the money on a taxi and even though the Demerol hadn't entirely gotten rid of my migraine and i got a wee bit lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood at 3:00a.m. it was yet another interesting experience--and i would have NEVER done that in a car!
Did i mention that i was never all that excited to get my Driver's License to begin with? That all important rite of passage never seemed to mean too much to me, in fact i had to have my learner's permit renewed when it expired after six months because i had never bothered to have anyone teach me to drive a manual transmission (the only vehicles owned by my family) and my Driver's Ed training had been automatic. Then, as a newly minted (seventeen-year-old--decided to get the damn license before the Learner's permit expired AGAIN) driver, i had my first accident, when my best friend, who had come over to get a homework assignment, CAJOLED me into taking her "for a spin around the block" because "she'd never ridden with me before. So... We are stopped at an intersection, waiting for two bicyclists to cross the street i am about to make a left turn onto (and yes my signal was on) when, BOOM, we are hit from behind, sent careening into both bicyclists, who come up over my hood (like that scene in Airplane--which was flashing through my mind at the time along with the thought that i was killing someone(s)), and into an irrigation ditch. As if this wasn't adventure enough for my first driving excursion, when both the city AND the county police officers arrive to take their reports it seems there is a question of jurisdiction BECAUSE i was hit in the county (and usually it is the point of impact that matters) BUT my car was then sent over the county/city line and the bicyclists were hit in the City so were their two accidents here? I don't really know, don't really remember. All i know is that my friend got whiplash (and wasn't she glad she asked me for a ride) I have many more tales of driving mishaps but i'll spare you, for the moment.
Why am i rambling about this topic on this particular day. Because i just went out, on my day off, for a doctor's appointment and to run some errands. I made it to the doctor. And that is about it. This is how it goes so very often. Now that i have the transportation available i make very little use of it because it is so entirely frustrating--i can only accomplish about one, possibly two things before the migraine sends me back into hiding. (oh whine, whine, whine--i sound entirely too pathetic time to stop)
so i will just say:

I am a much better driver than i once was (and i don't drive drunk), but i hate being on the road. It is one of the most frustrating experiences there is. It is an instant migraine inducer. You never truly learn how to swear until you learn how to drive. And driving in traffic produces so few entertaining stories.

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