Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Driving Miss Daisy

I don't drive anymore. This is not a choice to not drive, nor an inability but an economic and practical decision to maintain only one vehicle. 

When COVID hit I was working from home and we only left the house to go to the grocery story—or fishing, which was outside and nowhere near other people and we have the golf cart for that. We only needed one vehicle and mine was sitting idle for six months so, we sold it. The logic behind our decision was that when we are both in the vehicle, Larry is the driver. 

I will not drive him, unless he is anesthetized, or still in recovery mode. Like most men, he thinks he has to teach me how to drive. He also feels very uncomfortable being a passenger no matter who is driving. It is a control thing, I think.

After driving for more than fifty years, I believe I am as good as I can get, and I don't think I am any less of a driver than he is. I just have more sense than to argue that point. But also, because I know that he is sitting there in critical judgement, I tend to make mistakes I would not normally make. So when we go anywhere together, he does the driving. I silently observe but keep my thoughts to myself. It is not just Larry, every man in my life has done the same to me, and most women I know experience similar.

When we sold my car, Larry bought a four wheel drive pickup truck. For the hilly roads around the lake, in case there is a freeze. I do not like driving pickup trucks. I am very short and have difficulty finding a vehicle that I feel comfortable driving, my view being restricted by my lack of height. A pickup truck is not designed with tiny people in mind. We agreed that once I returned to the office full time I would buy another car. Then of course, I was unexpectedly retired.

At first, as I said, we didn't go anywhere anyway, due to COVID. As the restrictions lifted and we were thrice vaccinated, a little bit of normality crept in. Dentist was the first. After two years of not going near a dentist I was keen to get a checkup. I love where we live but it is far away from everything. The nearest dentist office is about four miles away. Larry insisted that he didn't mind driving me and waiting. He really doesn't mind. I mind. Among other things, I hate losing my independence. Luckily, my teeth were all in good condition so the visit didn't take too long.

In part I may object to being driven everywhere because, for the last three years of my mother in law's life, her life with us that is, Mildred couldn't see well enough to drive. Larry quit work to be her care giver, book keeper and driver. He drove her to dentists, doctors (and she had a lot of them), nails and hair appointments. He waiting patiently outside each of them without complaint. But I don't like being treated like I am past it. And I can see to drive, in fact I can see better than Larry can. I no longer need glasses to drive since I had cataract surgery. I freely admit, I do not like giving up control either. I have no interest in controlling others, but I will not be controlled. 

I have stopped getting my nails and hair done, partly due to the continuing COVID spread, despite being vaccinated. But mainly because I don't enjoy it. I really didn't enjoy it anyway, making idle conversation was never my thing. But I don't enjoy being driving around and waited for. It takes any enjoyment out of the activities because I can't relax knowing Larry is just hanging around outside waiting. As he did the one time I went for a pedicure after being vaccinated. He also had to drive me to my physical therapy sessions twice a week for 8 weeks! And perhaps in some perverse way, the fact that he doesn't mind doing it is also a problem for me. I see it as some sort of a control thing.

I have always so far, been very healthy and see my doctor at most twice a year, once for my annual physical and maybe once for something minor such as a sinus infection. Some years it has just been the annual physical. I can tolerate being driven to that as there is no fun to be had there anyway, and certainly it is not relaxing.

Later this month Larry will be anesthetized (just for a short while), he has to have some work done on one of his eyes. I will be driving him home. I am not looking forward to that. Hopefully the anesthetic will not wear off too much before I get him home; and hopefully I will get him home safely. And next month he has another minor procedure, again I will be required to drive him home.

It is almost two years since I have driven anything other than our golf cart, and I have only driven that a few times. I hear that driving is like riding a bike, in so far as you just don't forget. Next week we will find a quite parking lot and I will find out. Find out if I can still remember how to drive, if I can see out of the truck in order to drive safely, and if I can remember to keep my mouth shut in the face of unwanted driving instruction.

The problem is, I still can't justify having two cars. We are retired. We rarely go anywhere, and even more rarely do we have a need to go alone, well, Larry can go without me, I can't go without him. I do miss my independence, and my hybrid Lexus.

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