Saturday, January 9, 2010

The emotional side of it

All the people back in New Hampshire who were so kind to help me learn how to drive and get my license will be really disappointed: I’ve sold my car and ended my driving career for the time being.

In the past 6 months I’ve driven about 20 miles, mostly between my apartment and the railroad station (4 miles round-trip) and rolling the car in and out of the driveway so that  my neighbors could get their cars out. In the end, we simply left my car at the end of the line, and I didn’t drive it for months.

There are too many roads in NJ. I can’t handle more than 3 lanes on the highway, and there are too many cars. People cut corners all the time and change their minds without signaling. Everybody drives incredibly fast, and even in New Hampshire I came to understand I that I’m a slow driver. 

Driving in New Hampshire had its own challenges. When I’m driving, I don’t like to share the road with anyone, be it cars, moose, bear or deer. On the other hand, I don’t like to be in the woods by myself, either, even if I’m on the highway in the car. What if I get lost or the car breaks down in a spot where the cell phone doesn’t work? 

It’s a no-win situation. Sometimes being able to drive is convenient, but I haven’t come to like it. Despite the best intentions, once I had moved to Maplewood I was back to my old and cherished transportation habits before I knew it: walk, bike, public transport, a cab every once in a while or a ride with a friend. 

Wherever those means of transportation can’t take me, I don’t really need to go. If I’m honest I have to admit that I don’t want to drive. 
I understand that I might be depriving myself of opportunities and I am sure that I would become a decent driver within weeks if my existence and well-being, or those of a friend, depended on it. Fortunately, that’s not the case at the moment.

By the way, the people who bought the car were also looking for a piano teacher......


  1. Your blog is so refreshing! I enjoy "following" your posts and the pictures add such a lovely touch. I knew you were never really comfortable with driving and so it is a wise thing to have made the decision you did, especially with public transportation etc. so readily available where you are. Your life in Maplewood sounds wonderful, especially so close to NYC. The best of all Happy New Years to you, Birgit!

  2. Love the looks of your home, Birgit. Last Feb. was the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first look at the heaven's with his telescope (he described craters and mountains on what the Catholic church insisted was a perfectly spherical celestial orb........the first of many astronomical observations that got him into huge trouble with the church, ultimately culminating in his death while under house arrest at the hands of The Inquisition). I am sure
    he.........smiling in his pleased to know that YOU know that the earth revolves around the sun and that it rises in the east and sets in the west! Progress!!
    Bob Smith