I started driving when I was six years old. I was too small to operate the vehicle by myself so my sister, who was eight, manned the pedals while I grappled with the steering wheel. Together, we drove my mother's green Chevy II all over our family farm. After 10 years of tandem driving, I got my driver's license, and took to the highway solo. I drove back and forth across the United States four times. I drove to Colorado in a blinding snowstorm. I drove around the Dallas loop three times, lost. I drove to Arkansas simply to buy a Razorback cup holder. I drove a Vega full of Coors beer back from Oklahoma.
I drove for 40 years to a variety of destinations for a variety of reasons. Then, I stopped. Just like that. I had a brain tumor, and when the neurosurgeon removed it, I acquired epilepsy. For a long time, I thought I could control my epilepsy, and drive again. But, I can't.
Now, I stare out passenger side vehicle windows not knowing what Highway 101 connects to or if 580 is a viable route. I wonder if we're on 35th in Oakland or Peralta in Pacifica. I used to speak directions, but now I only converse in bus routes or BART lines. I know my destination, but no longer the turn-by-turn wherefores of getting there.
I look desperately for the silver lining in my transportation cloud. Perhaps it is that I don't have to check my engine's oil any more or I'll never see another cop, lights flashing, in my rear view mirror. And look at the cost of gas.
Finally, one day it happens. I'm simply okay with it. My therapist says, "It's acceptance," but it doesn't feel like that. It's like blowing your engine out-of-state, and realizing the cost to tow the car home and repair it exceeds its value. So you look for housing near the bus line there, which surprisingly isn't a bad area at all.