Life is scary sometimes, isn't it? I mean, when you're young and you look ahead into your 20s and 30s - where will the job come from, the place to live, the person I really want to have children with? How am I going to find a way to do what I really love and get paid for it?
You can imagine those things all you want, but you won't know - you can't come close to finding out - until you're actually out there, living. And when you're in there living, you have to be able to look around and recognize that everybody else is, too. You have to know you have a right to be out there, and even if your path is different from others', you need only to follow certain unspoken rules of conduct to move freely through the masses.
Yesterday I had my first driving lesson in a little over four years, and it was just like that. Everybody has the lane they're sitting in, the space they occupy, and they all just have it granted to them. You just have to move along the road the way everybody else is, and make your turns when everybody's agreed you're next, and change your lanes when the car behind you fills the correct percentage of your rear view mirror, and then - voila! - you'll be where you were going.
Jerry agreed that I will need a ton more practice before I'm ready for a road test. I need to get out three or four times a week, he says, for at least an hour each time.
Really? I asked. I was thinking, like, every day for at least an hour.
Ummm, yes, that would be good, he said.
I need to brush up on the basics like full stops and tighter right turns and oh MAN, lane changes, and then I need to focus on a whole lotta parking. But my main problem is confidence, as in, I have none. I give my right of way too freely, I wave other cars through. I panicked and darted off to a side road when he wanted me to make a lane change on a super busy one.
Accepting all this, I made another appointment with Jerry and then went inside to book my actual test (end of May) and to sit glumly, worrying.
After supper I got back into my car and this time, instead of taking back roads, I got myself into a stream of traffic and took the nearest busy one - the one with the lane changes and the cars chronically parked in patches along the side. I changed lanes twice, and when I came to the place where I nearly had an accident last week I paid closer attention, and when I got to four way stops at almost but not quite the same time as somebody else I took my right of way and let them wait.
And you know what? I feel better.
Well, a little better, anyway.