Thursday, October 09, 2008

driving anxiety

I love to drive, so much that during college I would hop in the car to travel 300 miles just to have a home-cooked meal. (It helped that gas was only .99/gal.) I love singing along with the radio, arguing back with the talking heads, and imaging the lives of the folks who live along the way. When we PCSed to Italy I quickly figured out the roads and we took many trips to Pompeii, Positano, Sorrento, and the Abruzzi Mountains. I took driving there as a challenge, learning how to pass on narrow curving 2 lane roads, how to avoid the 3 wheeled trucks chugging along the A1 at 35 mph, keeping my eye out for the BMWs flying down the left lane ready to run into anyone that dared get in their way. Other wives refused to go anywhere, afraid of getting killed, but I pretended I was the next Mario Andretti.

Maybe it is because I'm approaching 40, maybe because I'm driving something that is closer in scale to a 18-wheeler than a Maserati, but I'm intimidated about driving here in DC and it is a little embarrassing. I don't want to be one of those grandmotherly types who drive 35mph no matter what the speed limit is. But I have a heightened sense of mortality when I pull out onto the Beltway, this could be our last trip to the Commissary or Costco. I'm afraid of getting lost with all these children in the car, finding a parking space, and even taking the METRO and having one of the little ones jump off the platform.

This seems to be some phobia that has just taken hold of my brain, but perhaps this happens to a lot of folks and I will eventually get used to it. Yesterday we managed to get to the hospital in one piece so I could get my "official" pregnancy test and get into the system and this afternoon we have a trip to IKEA planned (if all the schoolwork and piano practice is completed) to finish organizing the girl's room.

Likely I will look back at this post 2-3 years from now and laugh, "What a ninny I was!" but by then we will be headed to Maine for good where there are no traffic jams and even fewer crowds. It might be 3 times as far to the grocery up there, but on the way I might see 3 cars and nobody backs up on the highway.

1 comment:

Lorri said...

I didn't know you are in DC, too!

I hate driving here, too. We got a GPS after we got tired of getting lost downtown, and that has helped a lot. Nobody I know will leave the island that is our SW DC base after 3 pm, or we'll just sit and sit and sit in traffic.