From the Braver Institute
When I am traveling by car (or truck as it may be) more often than not I am the one behind the wheel. This is primarily due to the fact that I am the only driver in my household. Even when I was married I still did all of the driving. I know that I am not even close to alone in this situation and that a great number of you out there also do all of the driving.
The thing about doing all of the driving for me is that it has gotten very old. Sure, there are times when I can truly enjoy it, but most of the time I’m driving out of necessity and that can take a lot of the fun out of it. These days gas prices are too high to just jump in the car and head out on the road to wherever it will take me. I really enjoy driving my old pickup out in the woods but since it gets negative gas mileage, I can barely afford to drive it to the other end of the driveway.
The bottom line is that most of the fun of driving is gone.
If you had told me back when I was fifteen that there would come a day when I would be sick of driving I would have called you a liar. At that age there was nothing I wanted more than to be able to drive. It was the only reason I so willingly plowed the driveway all winter long even if my driving was limited to our yard. I would sit out in our plow truck in anticipation of snow. If a flake hit the driveway, I was on top of it getting it out of the way.
Occasionally I would talk my parents into letting me drive on the two-rut roads that outnumbered the actual roads in our area ten to one. Driving around on these old logging roads was (and perhaps still may be) one of my greatest joys.
Any opportunity I had to sit behind the wheel was something I took advantage of without question, even if it was simply starting the car to warm it up.
The day I was able to get my learner’s permit is a day I will never forget. My friend Pete brought me to the Secretary of State’s office. The guy behind the counter said that I needed my parent’s permission to get the permit and he called my dad to make sure that it was okay. Somehow I don’t think such means of permission would fly these days. I can’t imagine someone at a government agency being willing to call a parent to find out if it was okay for their child to pilot a two-ton death-wagon down the highways of this fine land, but that’s the way things were back then.
Finally having my learner’s permit meant freedom. It also meant anyone I knew who owned a car was going to suffer dearly, listening to my incessant begging to drive. I wanted the days of my parents driving me around to be well behind me. Having the ability to drive legally yet still be a passenger was a total embarrassment.
Fast-forward to the present.
My mother was visiting but we both needed to make a trip to Marquette. We decided that we would go on Friday, after I was done with work.
I was tired from the long week and really had no desire to go to Marquette. When I got home I asked my mom if she wouldn’t mind driving. If you had told me back when I was fifteen that I would ever ask such a thing, not only would I have called you a liar but I would have probably done so while trying to land several punches on you.
There I was, riding along in the passenger seat with mom at the wheel. Things had come fullcircle. It was a wonderful trip.
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