Monday, April 25, 2011

Drive My Car

So one of the hardest things about losing one's sight is the independence that is taken away from someone who can't get to the places they need to get to. I have never driven, because my eyesight has always been terrible enough to deter me from getting behind the wheel. I had a boyfriend who tried to teach me how to drive in his giant red truck, because he thought I was just scared, and needed to get in a vehicle that would make me feel indestructible. I accidentally drove on the sidewalk, and then nearly side-swiped a bicyclist. I heard horn after horn as I drove down that dusty Tucson road, and after my boyfriend said an old lady was waving her middle finger at me, I pulled over and let him drive the rest of the way home. Turns out giant red trucks in the hands of someone who should have no business behind a wheel just end up nearly killing more people in half the time.

I made other attempts at learning to drive, but with half the periphery vision of other drivers, I think it's best that I remained cautious and never got anything past a learner's permit. You're welcome, is what I'm saying.

But just because I've never had the luxury of getting behind a wheel, doesn't mean I don't mourn the loss of the Promise of it. Knowing that I will never get to drive is not an easy pill to swallow. My kids and I are stuck at home. We are at the mercy of the weather, and until public transportation comes to my town, we're limited to about a mile radius on where we can go.

Sometimes I need to get to the store. This is my all-time least favorite thing about not being able to drive. I'm out of milk, or I need a key ingredient for dinner, or I'm really craving cookies. I try to plan ahead of time, and get everything I think I might need on those weekly visits to the store with Eric, but, as everyone who keeps a house knows, even Ma Ingalls is going to run out of wheat sometimes. Eric can't always go for me, because he's at school four nights out of the week. My mom makes an effort to help me when she can, but she lives half an hour away, and can only do so much. It really is just a matter of Making Do. I've made butterless cookies, and milkless Macaroni and Cheese, and it really is as disgusting as it sounds, but until milkmen come back in style, I'm at a disadvantage.

Luckily, I happen to have the best neighbors in the whole wide world.

Two weeks ago, for example, I needed to get tortillas for the dinner I had planned. I called my sister-in-law, who lives nearby, but she wasn't home, and one of my best friends, who lives close by, was having a rough day, and I didn't want to bother her. So I sucked it up, and I called my neighbor, and I asked if anyone in their house was planning on taking a trip to Target that night, and could I tag along. Not more than five minutes later, my neighbor is at my door, and I've made a new friend. She claimed she was going to the store anyway, because she was out of Pepsi, but deep down, I know she's just the nicest lady who ever lived.

Last week, my other neighbor called to say she was going shopping, and could she pick anything up for me. I didn't need her help at the time, but I asked her to let me know next time she was going. Turns out, she goes every week, same time, like clockwork, and she would love company. So I tagged along today, and it was truly the smoothest, most effortless shopping I've ever done. And again, I've made a new friend. Also, she price matches, which was crazy awesome. 99 cents for Apples, yo.

Incredible neighbors, supportive family, patient kids, loving friends... I guess if I've got to have it rough, I've got the easiest time of it.

One thing I wish I could change about not driving is the unnaturally low consumption of convenience store drinks I should be indulging in on a daily basis. Next time you're out and about, and you see a 7-11 stop and get yourself a Slurpee. It's what I would have done.


Keiko said...

I can't wait until it's summer and I can hit up Sonic for drinks and crash your house. It is going to happen.

Becky said...

You know, I can so relate to this one! Love those angels that call and offer a ride.

Luann said...

We were a one car family for about four years of our marriage. Sometimes I miss being stuck at my house. You can waste a lot of time "running errands." I had one really kind friend who would pick me up to go to the library story time with her and her son. It saved my sanity.

Becca said...

Know that you can call me if you ever get in a bind....or even if you just need a slurpee. :)