No, that’s not a euphemism.
I was a “late bloomer” when it came to getting my driver’s license. I remember Ex # 1 attempting to teach me how to drive his ’88 Merkur stick-shift when I was 16, but I discovered just how much I lack the coordination required to drive a stick shift (why hello thar Mr. Clutch! Am I supposed to step on you now? *vehicle stalls*). So I didn’t get my license until we moved to Phoenix in 2004, after I turned 18. Basically, my parents decided that I needed to drive, so they got me driving lessons, and in August of 2004, I was licensed. My first car was an ’85 Mercury Cougar. When we bought it, it had 35,000 original miles on it, and I loved it (and believe me, I missed it when it was gone, but that’s another story for another day).
But I digress.
Having my own vehicle and a license to drive it was liberating for me. I was able to get places, which is typically the reason for having such things, yes? Of course. Well, you don’t really realize just how much you miss those things until you don’t have them anymore.
Before I left Phoenix for Indiana to live with Mr. Fox, I had given up the piece of crap Grand Marquis that Ex #2 talked me into buying (he was a cab driver, and he had wanted it to become a cab). So by the time Mr. Fox and I moved in together, we had no vehicle, and relied on the shitty public transportation system that is IndyGo in Indianapolis, in addition to the kindness of our landlord for grocery shopping outings. Needless to say, this became old FAST. Sometime later in 2008, we had the opportunity to “purchase” a janky ’85 Ford Ranger. It got us from A to B, and since Mr. Fox wasn’t licensed at the time, I was the only one driving it. Once that went to shit, we had the niceness of my parents who took us grocery shopping every couple weeks.
In September 2009, we purchased a used Chrysler Town and Country, which was wonderful. And it helped us out a lot when we moved to the apartment. Unfortunately, the transmission decided to go in March 2011, and we were without a vehicle again. Thankfully, we were still on a bus route, so it wasn’t *too* bad. One of our friends was gracious enough to gift us a 2000 Nissan Xterra (they were going to trade it in, but decided we were more deserving of it) in May 2011, and that worked well until it decided to start crapping out on us, so off to Carmax it went. During a brief existential crisis after the death of Mr. Fox’s father, we decided to take the proceeds of the Xterra and some other money we had and lay it down on a seemingly cute and harmless red 1999 VW Beetle. And thanks to a swindling car dealer and car repair shop, the Bug didn’t last very long. Note to self: do not drive over tall manhole covers in a car that has a 4″ clearance. You *will* tear your transmission pan.
I do have to thank the Town and Country though, because if it weren’t for it’s death, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to rent the 2011 Kia Forte that we ultimately fell in love with. I also have to thank the Bug for dying as well, because if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to buy our 2010 Kia Forte.
Well, I went on a tangent there, didn’t I? I had a point here somewhere…
When Mr. Fox and I moved to Philly, I had only driven in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Indianapolis. In retrospect, those areas are not terribly urban. So when it came to driving in Philly, I was afraid. I mean, so afraid that I left all the driving to the husband. He lived there his whole life (minus 8 years), and he knew the area more than I. I had no problems driving in the suburbs, but our neighborhood is very congested and full of one-way streets, and don’t even get me started on the downtown area. So I could take Mr. Fox to work and drive around Horsham, Plymouth Meeting and the surrounding areas, but I was so afraid to drive in our own neighborhood, that I just *didn’t*. Also, our driveway behind the house is at a 45 degree angle, with a brick wall behind it. So I have to maneuver my way in and out of the driveway without hitting the wall or sliding into our garage door.
On our recent trip back to Indiana to visit my parents, I was happy to drive the entire time we were there. It felt wonderful to drive long distances again, and even seemingly insignificant trips to the store and gas station made me happy. Little did I know that, as soon as we would return back to Philly, Mr. Fox told me that I would be driving. I was like, say what?
Well hey, what do you know? I survived. I didn’t break the car, and I didn’t back into the brick wall, and I didn’t slide into the garage door. The only things I haven’t done yet is drive on Roosevelt Blvd, which is an experience in and of itself. I am weary of driving on the Blvd because of all the accidents that occur there. Eventually I will get there. Going to take baby steps though, because I don’t need to get us killed, you know?
So you’re probably wondering why this post is titled the way it is? Well, it’s simple. I had to get over my initial fears to be able to drive in our neighborhood, with all it’s obstacles, and it kinda feels like the first time I learned to drive.
I’ll get there eventually.