Sunday, December 18, 2005
Dear Marc, do you drive? Do you have a license? I mean, growing up in NYC and attending fashion school in the same town, did you ever really need a car? I was 29 and quite pregnant when I took my license.
The road to my license was long and paved with terror, fear and expenses. To this day I can remember the feeling of my driving instructor's big hand on my right thigh. She was not harassing me, but simply tried to help me step on the gas.
I fear speed. Downhill skiing is an exercise in courage for me. I hate going on airplanes. I don't have a fear of height, but the thought of the speed we're going at scares me and can only be muted with the help of red wine.
I was born in the wrong time. The days of donkey/mule transportation, so memorable in these Christmas times, seem very attractive to me.
But back to driving. The money I spent on driving classes actually exceed what I paid for my apartment. I could have hired a cab from here to Afghanistan for that sum. And have money left for the return.
Realizing that I was not made for driving hurt. Even more painful was my driving instructor's humble question at the end of our 27th Renault outing together: "Have you considered driving an automatic instead of a stick shift?"
I switched to automatic. Still, success was far away.
Some of my car-related fear can be blamed on my parents. Or rather, my dad, who has a thing for driving while doing other things. I remember one time in Chicago, with dad driving with his head out the window, admiring the tall buildings. When stopped by police, dad's honest reply "sure I was looking at the sky scrapers while driving. We're tourists, what a beautiful city you have here" surprisingly got us out of a ticket situation. Chicago police men must be very proud of their town.
The day I took my license, my belly touched the steering wheel. I was in my 9th month of pregnancy and the proud owner of a fine 80's Mercedes (matching my complexion).
I have not driven since.
But now that we're moving, I intend to be the best driver in town. If you don't drive, I'll soon be able to teach you how. Please don't be offended if I put my hand on your thigh. It's in your best interest.