Friday, June 5, 2009

A Quick Trip to the Store

The funniest thing happened to me yesterday. I got my learner’s permit.

“Bruce, lots of kids get their learner’s permits every day,” you mention.

But I’m not a kid. I’m 44 years old an adult. I’m even a parent. But for the past 26 years I haven’t driven because of epilepsy. Before when I needed to make a trip to the store, I walked, bussed, biked, begged for a ride or didn’t go. For someone who loves to cook, but hates to plan, I need to make lots of grocery trips. For someone whose interest in a recipe is heightened at the mention of obscure Central Asian spices or Korean sauces, getting ingredients can be a headache. I briefly had the luxury of living directly behind the Wedge Co-op. Until I get a real driver’s license I still will need an adult in the front seat.

I had mixed feelings about living without a driver’s license. I certainly didn’t like the seizures, but I felt a degree of moral righteousness in not being a part of our one person = one car culture. I rode the bus. I carpooled. I biked. I walked. I had a smaller carbon footprint. I got some exercise too.

These “healthy” smaller carbon footprint missions weren’t always so fulfilling. My seven-year old daughter wasn’t interested in riding the tandem to the specialty grocery just so Dad could save a few bucks on a 10 pound bag of Kokuho Rose sushi rice. Her apprehension about that mission was vindicated when Dad’s backpack broke and the ride home became a two-mile walk while Dad tried to balance the bike and a 10 pound bag of rice. I could endure personal inconvenience, but it hurt to see her disappointment.

My company’s parking lot and ramp together accommodate over 1500 cars, but only one bus drives out there. Standing in that empty lot after working overtime, waiting for that one bus has made me hot with rage over the shortcomings of public transit and the indignities of my condition: the medication, expense, loss of opportunity. But most of the time I recognized my condition was much milder than many, and public transit in the Twin Cities is getting better. I might not become a great driver, but I doubt I will ever take a quick trip to the store for granted.

1 comment:

Eugenia said...

Congratulations! May your grocery adventures continue and grow!