Thursday, February 01, 2007

licensed to ill

like many new yorkers, i don't have a license.

now, when you say it like that, it sounds so normal and acceptable, right? i live in an urban center with arguably the best public transportation system on the planet, who needs a license! but. i didn't grow up here. i grew up in the burbs, and went to college in the sticks, and definitely could/should have gotten a license somewhere along the way. it's not like i've never driven a car. i had a succession of learner's permits from age 16 to 22, but never got any further. i also managed to rack up a good number of speeding tickets while i had my permit, including one in maine, driving a rented van to a phish show, that i'm pretty sure i never paid.... anyway, there were reasons that i never took the plunge.

in high school, the first time my dad took me out on the road, out of the parking lot, i hit and killed a racoon. not good for the psyche. i had to take a break from the lessons for a little while. also, i knew that i wasn't getting a car---my parents didn't have the money to buy me one, and the majority of the money i made at my weekend job was forcibly put into a college savings account. so it didn't make much sense to me to get a license if i wasn't really going to have much of an opportunity to put it to use. go through all of the studying and practicing and the freakin test and blah blah blah so that i my stepmom's car on the weekend sometimes, maybe, if she feels like lending it to me, and only before 9? uh, not.

in college, still no car. so still no burning drive (heh) to get legal.

the year after college, too stoned.

the year after that, i moved here. the idea of getting a license just fell completely off my radar.

the year after that i moved from manhattan to brooklyn and shacked up with stephen and his car, and concievably should have gotten back on the license train. but stephen loves to drive, and generally prefers that if he is in a car, he is the one driving it. so, again, no motivation....

but lately i've been feeling like i should get around to it, already. mostly becasue of wile. it just seems a little silly not to be able to drive, in case of some kind of emergency. and for other less dramatic reasons: i could take a turn driving when our mom-and-kid posse heads out to the beach in the summer. we could go out to shea for a day game without having to deal with that horrendous g-to-7 transfer. we could go shopping at fairway. i would join the co-op.

so i'm pretty much decided that i'm going to do this thing. but here's the latest thing standing in my way: right now we have a toyota previa. not a new previa, ew. no, we have an o.g. previa. which stephen loves so much that if i were the jealous type i would have possibly already taken a baseball bat to its windows or something. clipped its brake cables? yeah, that's how little about cars, i can't even come up with a good car sabotage scenario.... anyway, stephen inherited this car from his dad, and though it really is in good shape for a 15-year old car, it's still a 15-year old car. with an assload of miles on it. my feeling used to be that we wouldn't get a new car until this one spontaneously combusted, but stephen has been making some noises lately about maybe thinking about getting a new one, possibly. i'm thinking it will happen sometime in the next year or two.

my feeling is that i don't want to learn to drive while we still have the old car. stephen thinks it would be better for me to learn to drive in the old car. here are our closing arguments:

stephen: as a new driver, i will be more prone to getting into a fender-bender or two. and wouldn't it be better to mess up the old car than the new one?

me: as a new driver and someone who is completely ignorant of car stuff (though of course i'd learn), i'd rather drive something that is less likely to crap out on me. especially with wile in the car.

so, jury of my peers, what do you think?


J. said...

i hate to say it but i agree with stephen. i started out on a junker/clunker and it was better. i didn't worry about stuff, like damaging a brand new car, and was able to focus on driving.

having said that i'd say something more reliable would also be better. i've been stuck out in the middle of nowhere too when my car's crapped out on me and it's no fun.

i think a newer used car is the way to go - a compromise!

Anonymous said...

or if i figure out how to move back to ny, you can adopt mine.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the time you drove Chumlee's Yugo into a ditch...that's some funny stuff.

hey mama said...

oh. my. lord. i'd completely blocked that out. see, maybe the question really isn't old car or new car, but whether i'm really meant to be behind the wheel of a car at all....

Jack's Raging Mommy said...

I had an old school mid-eighties Volvo that I adored, plus they are pretty darn near undestructable. Unless you let someone borrow it for a couple of months and they never check the coolant or oil levels. Then the engine goes boom

I remember the first time I met several New Yorkers, it was a Summmer Stock company I was in. One mentioned she didn't have her license and I was stunned. Once I thought about it, it made sense. I was just used to everyone getting them the second they turned 16 :)

hey mama said...

i did much of my permitted driving on a mid-80s volvo named milton, and i loved that car so much....

Anonymous said...

and milton loved you! you were fine on the long, highway trips. it was the around town, stop-and-go/parking details that escaped you a bit (a few bumps here and there). i have no doubt that new car or old with your new focus (and child in the car) you'll be great.