By Mike Byrne
Did you know that 1.3 million people die every year from car accidents? Did you also know that cars are one of the largest emitters of carbon monoxide, the major air pollutant?
Did you also know that the United States spends roughly $60 billion on foreign oil, much of that black gold going toward fueling our destructive automobiles?
No? Well that’s fine, because I didn’t either until I googled it.
In high school, I reconciled the fact that I didn’t drive with the probability that I wasn’t going to have a girlfriend to take anywhere. There were 270 episodes of Cheers that I planned on watching, and nothing as insignificant as dating was going to keep me from them.
But when I met a girl whom I felt was worth putting my binging of bygone pop culture on hiatus, I was put in a peculiar situation. I played off not having the ability to drive as one of my many endearing quirks, and subtly implied that she would be taking care of all the transportation.
When I explain to people why I never learned how to drive, I usually shrug and say, “I’ve got a really nice Schwinn.” This explanation almost always elicits a blank stare or an awkward chuckle.
I like to think I don’t drive as a form of protest with the facts stated above to support my decision.
But the truth is, it was not a decision at all. I would love to know how to drive but I failed the written exam twice and am now too embarrassed to take it a third time.
It is not that I think the employees at the DMV are going to roll their eyes upon my entrance and whisper, “There’s the kid who can’t pass the easiest part of the test” to each other. It’s more internal.
I am currently a college student, but for some reason I can’t remember that you have to park at least ten feet away from a fire hydrant. Or is it fifteen? Twenty?
But hey, now I’m a student in a metropolis, which means I won’t need to know how to drive for at least the next four years.
So it all worked out, right?
My attitude toward driving is not unlike my attitude toward most responsibilities — lackadaisical until it become absolutely necessary that I undertake the responsibility.
I did not put much effort into high school academics until I realized that no decent college was going to accept me with the grades I was getting. I did not quit my Netflix benders until I realized I was missing out on forming valuable relationships.
And now, I have started to let a basic rite of passage into adulthood slip by. I will not let this one get away though.
I will learn to drive, and I will acknowledge that if I want to start actually growing up I need to start getting a hold of the steering wheel earlier.