Bookworm on wheels: Learning to Drive at 30.



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. 





2 thoughts on “Bookworm on wheels: Learning to Drive at 30.

  1. Emmanuelle

    Don’t know if you’ve heard of or read anythjng by Dan Savage, but a chapter in his new book compares abstinence-only education to driving lessons and it’s funny and sad at
    The same time. Your post just completely reminded me of that. You should read that part if you ever come across it, or I’ll type it for you if I ever come across that book again somewhere in this apartment.

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