As you already know, I’ve transplanted from the city with its public transportation and no car to the middle of suburbia with its endless malls and no car. In fact, I reside across the street from a major mall. But like most of these developments, the mall covers literally acres. I can’t, say, walk from here to the cinema, or Target, or any of other stores and restaurants. I need a car. Did I mention I sold my last car in 1996 and haven’t driven in 20 years?
I learned to drive at age 26. Prior to that time, my poor vision and lazy eye stopped short of the legal requirements. Then with a good eye doctor who gradually changed my prescription glasses over time, my vision improved to 20/40. Overjoyed, I took a driving course and got my license. But that happiness bubble burst when I started sharing the road with all the other guy. Let’s face it, city driving can be harrowing. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a bad driver. But city driving required such defensive maneuvering that I developed anxiety. By this I mean I was anxious – not panic stricken). So I stopped driving. Then I became engaged and a bought car in anticipation of living in a new house in the burbs. When things went south, I took the car back to the city where I drove it seldom. Why did I need it? Public transportation and taxis took me anywhere I needed to go. I sold the car (but kept the license).
Flash forward to now with friends driving me around. They haven’t seemed to mind but we all know I could benefit from more freedom to get myself around – like across the street to the mall. So where does the anxiety enter? Over the years, I’ve had two types of anxiety dreams: the first has me forgetting to attend classes until finals; the other has me driving, sometimes well, sometimes badly. I’d awake glad I didn’t even own a car. Everybody with whom I talked have reassured me that suburban driving is much easier and less stressful, especially if I venture out between 10AM and 4PM. I could refresh my skills by driving around parking lots and going short distances. My confidence would grow; the anxiety would lessen, and everything would work out. And with eye surgeries, my vision has improved even more. I want to believe them.
The allure of freedom bested anxiety today. My friend (who is knowledgeable about car buying and leasing) and I went to a car dealership, asked questions and started crunching numbers. (I drove a little but my friend took it out on the major road). After extensive back and forth, I got the best deal for my financial situation. The salesman expects me back tomorrow to finalize the deal. I feel anxious and little fearful. But buying a car will force me to deal with the anxiety issue and get out on my own. As with other things that have happened to me over the past six months, a strange feeling of karma came into play during the talks, as if a way had been cleared for me to have this car. Even my friend remarked on the strange unexpected turn of things in my favor. I’m not the mystical sort, but even it gave me pause.
Wish me luck.