Bookworm on wheels: Learning to Drive at 30.

texting-and-driving-funny-pictures

 

I turned 16 on March 7th, 2000. My boyfriend at the time, T, had gotten his G1 license (learners’ permit) and I had plans to do the same. But then, in a fashion typical of 16-year old Kerry, I spent that 100$ meant for the G1 test on sparkly lip gloss, Hanson T-shirts and that clear soda with the gel spheres in it:

Does anyone else remember Orbitz?
Does anyone else remember Orbitz?

By the time I bothered to save the money again and borrow the book from a friend, T had already gotten his G2 licence (So he could drive alone without any grown-ups).

“Once your boyfriend can drive” reasoned 16-year old Kerry “what’s the point?”

And so it went, for quite some time.As a function of always:

a) Living in cities with adequate public transit options

b) boyfriends who drive

c) being poor as dirt, thanks to a decade-long post secondary career.

d) laziness

I never did get around to getting that G2. (I got my G1 at the age of 26, because it was getting too risky always bringing my passport with me to bars as I.D.)

Fast forward to 30, and now apparently it’s “high time” I learned to drive. Although, really, I feel like that whole thing was a little bit of an overreaction on the part of certain people. For instance:

“What if there’s a medical emergency and you have to drive me to the hospital?” 

Well, my dear, why do you think I took that CPR course? And brought that scalpel home? I also watched a video online about at-home tracheostomies. 

“What if we have a kid? How will you get around when I’m at work?”

Oh, so now our baby is too good to take the bus? Lousy stuck-up theoretical baby..

“So, I’m just going to drive us everywhere forever? And drive you to work even if we move?”

Sounds like someone didn’t read his pre-nup thoroughly.I can’t be blamed for your oversight 

At any rate, I signed up for the local young drivers. 24 hours of in class lessons and 16 in-car lessons. Have you ever been the oldest in the room? By a lot? Every Tuesday and Thursday for 4 weeks? No? Allow me to summarize:

The Best (worst?) things about being a 30 year old at driving school:

  • At 30, you’ve lost that youthful fearlessness and now driving has that extra “fun” rush of knowing exactly what you have to lose.
  • Explaining to the class that the item in the Distracted Driver video isn’t a cigarette case, but a cassette tape. A rudimentary music storage device favored for personal listening/ compilation creating in the pre-CD era.
  • Making up fun lies about why I waited this long to do this.

Well, I’ve been overseas for most of the past 10 years. For work. Mostly Europe and the Baltics. And then of course, when you’re in law school, theres no time for driving lessons.”

  • Classes entitled:”Peer pressure, driving and you!”, “Teens, Parents and Driving”, “Drugs and Driving: Making the right call” (this one included not one, but two slideshows set to Sarah McLachlan songs featuring teens who died from drunk driving.)
  • In depth discussions with the teacher, who has identified you as an age cohort, about how useless today’s teens are. 
  • The online course J took about being a co-driver and secondary teacher to a young driver.

I’m coming up to my test. The one thing I hear ALL THE TIME whenever anyone hears that I’m taking lessons is “Driving is easy, you’ll be fine”. 

Driving is not easy. I think everyone forgets how hard and humbling learning a new skill is. Especially a skill you get tested on. Oh, and also, this skill killed over 2500 people in Canada last year, and seriously injured 100,000 more. It takes place in a metal box, hurtling down the road at 60 km/hr, alongside other metal boxes filled with flammable liquid. Piece of Cake.

But I digress, learning a new skill is something we do less and less of as we get older. We tend to stick with skills and activities we are good at, or that are at least familiar with. But learning a new skill from scratch is also very rewarding. So, a challenge: choose a completely new skill and learn it. Take lessons, read a book, watch a youtube video, but stick with it until you’ve mastered it. Theres no feeling like it.

Bonus points if that skill is potentially fatal. 

 

 

 

 

Books: The roommate that never pays rent or offers to buy more hand soap.

 

So, our landlord is putting our house up for sale.Which is basically the worst thing ever and here’s why: We have an abnormally generous amount of city space for an unusually low price. Unless we move out of the city, or I sell a kidney, we need to downsize.

So, no big deal, right? Purge, clean out, sell some stuff, give some stuff away and get ourselves one of those swanky condos all of the other young and childless are getting. So we went to a couple of viewings, figuring that 2 people will be perfectly comfortable in a one plus den. Makes sense.

Upon entering that 725 sq. ft., granite countered, stainless steel applianced, laminate floored cage, I had a vision. It’s moving day. Books in boxes EVERYWHERE with nowhere to house them. And it hit me- We actually need to find accommodations for three: Me, J, and the books. My book collection is the houseguest that never leaves. The roommate I told J would only be crashing for a couple weeks, but now it has its own area set up in the living room, complete with posters and a sheet hung up for privacy. They never pay rent, they never clean out the lint trap and they complain when I make tofu. But I love them and I’ll never get rid of them, so clearly the books are all coming with us. To his peril, J mentioned that perhaps some of my books might be “stored”. We’ve stopped looking for places.

I’ll bet that a well-built, well kept, detached house with a rental unit and a pool in Toronto will take months to sell…right? Right.

Anyway, I have no idea how this is going to pan out, so I figured that the most constructive thing to do is to look at pictures of amazing home libraries! So here we go:

Some incredible home libraries:

When Writers get Writers’ Block, they write about Writers’ Block.

I started this blog almost a year ago to fill in something in my life that was missing- that creative outlet, the mentally challenging piece. Don’t get me wrong, my job was great, something I had trained for, but it had become a little routine. Writing gave me that academic, expressive forum. The ideas came fast and furious; posts got written while I was working, scribbled on the back of someone’s blood test results (sorry!) They came while I was running, I would race home to get them down on paper. I would wake up, and there would be 5 new ideas in my head, just waiting to be transferred to writing.

Then I got a temporary promotion. A new job that I love, but one that takes every ounce of attention that I have all day long. Sometimes all night long. Basically my job is the job equivalent of a newborn; unreasonable, unpredictable and always needing something else from me, but I love it anyway. Now at work I struggle for time to eat, and when I come home I struggle for the energy to hold up my end of a conversation with J,  never mind finding time and energy to write for fun. I wake up remembering all the things I need to put into a report instead of fun ideas about a book-related recipe to try. I set aside time to write, but I end up just staring at a blank word document, watching that damn cursor blink…mocking me and everything I stand for.

Writers’ Block.

So I waited. And waited and waited and waited. I read other blogs, books and magazines. I made lists of things that I could write about. I started posts, and discarded them. So then I did what any reasonable person would do when faced with a seemingly solution-less problem: I Googled it.

So, after extensive google-research it looks to me like you’ve got the basic, go-to tips:

  • Take a break (like a 3 month break? Done.)
  • Free Association writing (Tried it. Ended up with this weeks grocery list and a picture of the cat playing the bongos).

    Useful...but not a cure for W.B.
    Useful…but not a cure for W.B.
  • Read the writing of others (Obviously done. Enjoyable but surprisingly unhelpful)

Then you have your not-so typical “wacky cures for writers’ block”:

  • Ingest ungodly amounts of caffeine (What do people hopped up on caffeine do? They watch Netflix, they read everything on the huffington post. They do not write.)
  • Make yourself dizzy (Not happening- I had to opt out of one of the dances at Zumba because there were too many turns and I didn’t want to throw up on my sister…again).
  • Try using more swears to feel more freely expressive. (This might actually work. If I swear at work enough maybe I’ll get fired and then I’ll have lots of time to write!)

Having failed at all of these cures, I figured at the end of the day, writers’ block is just about where you are in your life. I don’t write to put food on the table, I write for fun. Writers’ block isn’t some disease state that one falls victim to. The ideas, inspiration and motivation will come back to you when you’re ready. So I figured I would just relax, take a few minutes every morning before my day got crazy and check in with the muses, see if anything occurs to me.

Then I noticed that Googling “Cures for writers’ block” brings up 56,200 articles. So 56,200 other writers have written about writers block. What if the cure for writer’s block…is to write about writers block?

It still might still be swearing like a goddamn sailor. Hard to say. Either way, I’m back in the fucking game!