“Wanna drive around?”

Last night, I had a nightmare about driving. These aren’t uncommon and always seem to involve me losing control of the car, or forgetting how to drive.

I was never a good driver. When I got my license, it was so surprising to my parents that my mom refused to get in the car with me for a full year and a half after I passed. My dad used to joke that my sense of direction was so bad that I had to drive to the mall to orient myself before driving anywhere else. It acted as my North Star. Even then, in the earlier days of my driving life, on a rainy day with poor visibility, I accidentally turned left out of the mall parking area into a two lane highway of oncoming traffic. Sometimes I think back on some of my driving adventures and am indeed surprised I made it through. When others got “prettiest eyes” or “most likely to succeed” as senior superlatives in the high school yearbook, I was nominated by my peers for a new category, complete with picture: worst driver.

I received the award with a certain amount of honor, and I will add: I have never been in or been responsible for a car accident. Just an occasional bump into a parked car (always leaving a note!) or a curb.

Nowadays, I don’t drive, and my biking abilities have vastly improved in Corona times since I don’t use public transit anymore either. But at the start of this pandemic, I missed driving more than anything else. I grew up in a town where that was the main past-time, driving around in circles, stopping at the convenience store, listening to music, breathing in teenage second-hand cigarette smoke. There is nothing that relaxes me more than a 90s soft rock song blasting on the radio as I wiz by trees on an empty suburban road.

But perhaps, at least for now, the world is better off without me behind the wheel. Now I listen to these songs at home, and think back nostalgically on my younger years. It’s strange what people idealize from their youth. I suppose my dreams remind me of a reality I choose to forget.

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