Thursday, December 13, 2007

with time

i noticed the other day that i don't drive as fast as i used to. where i used to use my peripheral vision, now i look and look again (as my dad told me to do when he was teaching me how to drive.) i used to be so crazy with it. once, my mom, dad, and i were on our way from some random outing, and since i was able to drive, my dad suggested that i drive home. he wouldn't shut up, and it was so hard for me to concentrate on what i was doing, that i could hardly drive anyway, so i stopped right where i was. in the middle of the road. no hazard lights, no pulling over, nothing. i just stopped, and scared the isht out of my folks. i told my dad, "look, if you want me to get us home safe, you're going to have to stop all the talking. i can get us home, but not with all you're shooting at me from the passenger seat, i just can't." of course, he wanted to strangle me, or at least switch seats, but with cars whizzing by on both sides of the family car, that wasn't going to happen. after a dramatic pause, i put the car back in drive and got us home. i was crazy. it's his fault, he'd been driving like a maniac for as long as i can remember, and since i grew up used to maniacal driving, it was nothing for me to put the car in park in the middle of the road. during my college years, i drove some of everywhere in my own on-again/off-again hoopty, and driving a van for the school's security escort service (i LOVED that job). it was on the crazy streets of baltimore that i both came into the confidence a driver needs to have, and learned just how far i could push the rules of the road.

but, one hydroplane into the back of a moving truck, one doze on I-95 during rush hour, another doze on the DC beltway in bumper-to-bumper traffic, one broadside through a red light into a BMW, two speeding tickets, and one court-ordered driving class later, my maniacal days were over. somewhere in that time span, i stopped feeling that urge to rush to get where i was going. i stopped feeling invincible.

then i noticed that other people were speeding up to my bumper and zooming around my left side. i noticed that i felt more comfortable out of the fast lane. that two or three car lengths worth of buffer in front of me just made me feel better.

i'm not perfect. i still don't drive the speed limit in low traffic, low pedestrian areas. sometimes i still get distracted. sometimes i get sleepy while driving... but i'm more careful. i don't rush so much. i don't get road rage as often. if i need to, i'll pull over until i can get back on the road.

but this isn't really about my driving. it's about who i am becoming overall. the driving change is really just a part of an overall pattern in my life. it's interesting to be able to reflect - zoom out and witness my own maturation...