The Pandemic Made Me Realize I Never Want to Drive Again

I never really wanted to learn to drive.

I remember hitting a curb when I was in driver’s ed and thinking to myself, “Do I *have* to do this?”

Weirdly, the day I hit the curb was the only time I got behind the wheel in that class, which was taught by a coach over the summer in a portable classroom. 

And I still got a “A”. 

Part of that was my obsession with acing every test and completing every tiny possible bit of homework. 

But, still, you’d think the actual driving in Driver’s Ed would account for more of the grade than that. 

The Georgia DMV agreed. I failed my road test twice before finally passing. 

Once I started driving regularly, I hated it even more. I had a tiny car back then, a little purple Geo Tracker that I named Gilbert. (High five if you can guess the reference!)

Gilbert was my favorite car, but second place is the car I have right now, Yeezus. 

Big tree, Black Fiat 500

Too bad I don’t enjoy driving, lol. 

I felt a massive amount of stress wherever I drove, but I sucked it up and did it, assuming everyone else was as nervous as me. It was a necessity, after all. 

Then one night, on the way home from my job at Blockbuster one town over, I hit a deer. 

My sweaty driving palms only increased. 

Between that first deer hit and now, I had two other ‘major’ accidents. One was a t-bone situation and one was a rear-ender on 1-95 in the middle of a tornado. I was the butt in that situation. 

I stopped driving on interstates for a long time after that. 

Hating driving is something that has become kind of like a personality trait for me. Like, “Oh Jacki? She loves Cherry Coke Zero, socks, and Sour Skittles. She HATES driving!”

I have to use driving directions going literally everywhere. This used to be a HUGE source of embarrassment for me, but this has calmed a bit since discovering the aphantasia. So, if you ever see my face glazing over when you’re trying to tell me where something is located, do not take it personally. 

And night driving was getting real rough for me, too what with my football shaped eyeballs and all. Dang astigmatism!

Then the pandemic hit and I didn’t have to drive 30-45 minutes two times a day. 

A few weeks of not having to drive freed up so much space in my brain. 

Thus my work started improving in both quality and quantity. I didn’t snap as easily at home. Nor did I get as easily frustrated when trying to doing something that used to be fun, like an art project or organizing stuff. 

My brain in general started feeling less swirly and it took me a bit of time to realize what major cause of the improvement:

Driving didn’t occupy my thoughts anymore.

This seems really silly, but even my daily drives I felt the need to psych myself up for. Like, no exaggeration, I would spend a good 30 minutes before any drive giving myself a mental pep talk. 

And those were the places I felt *comfortable* driving. A new place? That was at least 6 hours of stress, including monitoring the traffic and figuring out alternative routes. 

So after the space away from driving, I realized how much of my brain space it was dominating and made the conscious decision to only drive when absolutely necessary. 

And lately, that has taken the form of driving Mickey to & from the airport. However, he understands my stress completely and will take an Uber if I’m feeling too nervous. 

But more often than not, my excitement over seeing him again sooner outweighs my nervousness. At least temporarily. 

So, a few months ago, I made the decision to get rid of my car. It was paid off and Yeezus was just sitting there, looking all sad an unused. Not to mention the insurance I’d been paying for him to just look cute. 

I wasn’t quite sure even how to approach getting rid of it, then a friend looking for new wheels kind of fell into my lap. 

So today, I sent Yeezus off to the doctor for a checkup and hopefully later this week, he’ll get a rebrand to “Ye” when he goes home with his new mama. 

I feel like I’m leveling up, but if I would have told young driver Jacki this… she’d feel like a complete failure. That’s growth, I guess. 

 

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