Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The More You Drive, The Less Intelligent You Are

Do you like to drive? I don't. That wasn't always the case. Back when I first got my driver's license I was happy to drive just about anywhere. One notable exception to this preference was the week that I had earned my learner's permit. My family was taking off on a station wagon road trip to Las Vegas, and my father thought it would be a good time to give his kid a shot behind the wheel. On Wolf Creek Pass. Just before the first thaw. Thanks for the confidence builder, dad! It was a white-knuckle experience for all who rode in the family car, with my older brother's supportive cry from the back seat: "They let you drive a little closer to yellow line, ya know." It was true that I was hugging the shoulder as fearless semi-tractor trailers surged past me on the left, but I hoped to be closer to the side of the road for the moment that I was told to pull over and let somebody drive who knew what they were doing. That wasn't me. Not that day, anyway.
As I grew into my driving skills and a series of affordable used cars, I felt the periodic thrills of speed and the roar of internal combustion engines. I changed spark plugs and oil, but was routinely mystified with most of the rest of the inner workings of my motor car (as Mister Toad might say). More than anything else, driving in my car meant complete control of the stereo system. I needed something that could carry around my graphic equalizer (all the switches went up to eleven) and my Jensen triaxials - all the better to crank "Renegade" by Styx.
The loud music these days comes from the home stereo, and now that I've moved to California, though I've been here for more than a decade, the geography continues to puzzle me. I get around all right, but I don't have the same confidence I had back in my hometown. I ride my bike to school, and the kids always want to know if Mister Caven has a car. We have a family car. My wife drives it more than I do. A lot more. Still, every so often we'll head out on a road trip, and I'll settle in behind the wheel, now that I know what I'm doing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... are you calling your wife...?