[My mom Cathy wrote this entry before I took over the blog.]
When I tell people I don’t drive, they first assume I can’t afford a car.
Actually, up to August 2005, I had a wonderful Toyota Corolla. I sold it four days after moving here, through Craigslist.
Why? I really don’t like to drive through rain, traffic, bridges and tunnels. I’m a cowardly driver: in traffic, everyone else gets to go ahead of me. I brake a lot on bridges and tunnels.
Once I was braver. I learned to drive in San Francisco and drove a VW there for years. When I moved back, years later, to attend grad school at UC Berkeley, I had a little 5-speed Nissan Sentra – a 1985 box. I drove across the Bay Bridge almost every day and later drove back and forth to Chico, California, where I taught for three semesters while finishing my PhD.
I kept it for 11 years and sold it in Canada. The locks broke and I was moving to Philadelphia, a bad place for an unlocked car. The Nissan’s new owner, a woman pilot who lived in the bush, she had no need for locks (and she could repair the car herself). For all I know, the car still runs around the Canadian wilderness.
When I moved to Florida in 1998 I bought a Toyota Corolla with air conditioning, automatic transmission and 4 doors. It seemed so luxurious! Four doors seemed excessive till I got Keesha, my very first dog. Forty-five pounds with extra fur on top.
I drove all up and down I-95 which was terrifying. Lots of tailgating drivers who made interesting gestures when I pointed to the rearview mirror.
I drove to New Mexico, where I lived for four years. Almost every month I went to Tucson, Arizona, which is one of the most beautiful drives in the entire country and maybe the world. Southwest drivers are kind. They signal for lane changes. They rarely tailgate. They pull over during thunderstorms, which is good, because the roads flood easily and even SUV’s can hydroplane.
I drove to Santa Fe where my car was rear-ended by a driver who admitted she wasn’t paying attention. Amazingly, the insurance paid everything and her company paid my deductible.
But I couldn’t wait to stop driving. Hence my move to Seattle. Driving four days in a car packed with 2 cats and a 40-pound dog convinced me: I don’t want to do this anymore.
And I haven’t.