Many of my friends in New York cannot drive. Imagine how surprised I was, this weekend, to discover that I have become one of them.
I can’t stay in a lane, I can’t parallel park and I sure as hell can’t moderate my speed. Several times I caught myself going 50 MPH on the highway — a crime that will get you killed in many states, and justifiably so.
I’m not sure when all this happened, but it probably shouldn’t shock me. I’ve never been what you’d call a fantastic driver. I’m nervous, distracted and have little to no sense of where I am on the road, due to larger spatial problems that have also kept me from being able to tell when a flying object is going to smack me in the face. (Softball was fun.)
I also suffer from automotive hypochondria. If I were to nearly get cut off by a Mack truck on the highway, I would spend the next 15 minutes displacing my fear by hyperventilating and imagining hideous metal-on-metal grinding coming from the undercarriage of the car — an area as mysterious to me as Antarctica or the surface of the moon.
Daydreaming is also a problem. When I’m in New York, I get everywhere on foot. I’m good at sensing proximity, at bobbing and weaving around people and carriages and cars and carts. I can do this while imagining what I should say to this or that attractive young man, when next I see him, or re-imagining a smarter retort for that snotty cocktail waitress. Multitasking, see? But I wouldn’t recommend it, when you’re behind the wheel.
The good news for America’s roadways is that I’ll be hanging up my keys once again in two short days. In the meantime, I recommend staying indoors.