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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2004-10-17 ... 7:44 a.m.

I drove the car!

Wait, no, listen: I drove the car!


High School: I take Driver's Education through the public school system, which consists of goofing off during the classroom portion, crashing a lot during the simulator portion (those things are ridiculous), and precisely fifteen minutes of actual driving time during the behind-the-wheel portion. I get my permit but it takes all summer to get the license, because I fail the driving test three times. Once I even have a teeny tiny accident during the test, and you know what? The DMV people won't even let you drive back to the facility once that happens.

Later, I finally do get my license but I still am not a very good driver. I have a tendency to rear-end people, fortunately at low speeds, and after doing so I have an unfortunate insurance-premium-damaging teenaged tendency to leap out of the car and babble at the other driver about how sorry I am. I also do things like misjudge the size and shape of my parents' garage and end up knocking down part of the house while trying to do something basic like pull into the driveway.

College: I don't have a car, which is fine as there is really nowhere to go, unless you are in a Wal-Mart mood. At least once a month I escape to Chicago, to get away from the endless corn and agoraphobia-inducing open sky, but I am always able to find a willing accomplice to do the driving.

After College: LT and I move in together and buy a great big Chevy Caprice with a bullet hole in the hood, a tendency toward cocktail-olive parthenogenesis, and an erratic electrical system. It is so big that I can not drive it without my special driving pillow, and oh wait I couldn't really drive it anyway. Because I suck at driving.

When you say "I am a terrible driver," people tend not to believe you. That year I met and became friends with Kat, and when she found out that I owned a car she naturally assumed that I could drive us on outings to movies and dance clubs and Really, Anywhere Will Be Fine, As Long As It Is Not In The Motherfucking Cultural Wasteland Known As "Hyde Park." So we go out, and I drive, and she ends up nearly peeing herself from a combination of terror and mirth as I do things like knock down a row of construction sawhorses, cartoon-style, boom boom boom boom boom, then go around the block (because naturally we are lost) and run over them again. (Kat: ARE THEY DEAD YET?)

Bahrain (and a shift to past tense, for some reason): I drove quite often in Bahrain. No major incidents occurred. Driving did not seem like a big deal while I lived in the Middle East, and did not fill me with anxiety like it usually does. With very little public transportation, a boring, just-something-to-do job, and all the stress and culture shock of being a newlywed in a foreign land where I know almost no one, I take EVERY FREAKING OPPORTUNITY to jump in the car and go, just to be able to get off by myself and have the semblance of personal freedom.* Since Bahrain is almost totally flat, when I got lost I could just pull off-road into the desert, climb on top of the car, and look around for landmarks. Also, just about everyone else on the road had their own driving issues. I may have had erratic speed and an unclear sense of the car's edges, but at least I did not do things like come to a dead stop in the middle of a major highway in order to fuss with the electric incense burner on the dashboard.** The entire time I lived in the Gulf, it rained once, for about six minutes. Later the paper reported that there had been thirty-four major road accidents during those six minutes, and three fatalities. And I will stop now because this paragraph is starting to read like some racist comedian shtick OH THOSE ARABS THEY ARE SUCH BAD DRIVERS. Which was not my intent.

*I exaggerate the awfulness for comic effect; I am ultimately glad we went. The Gulf is a deeply weird place, and provided me and LT with years' worth of inside jokes.


A Stretch Of Six Or Seven Years, In Chicago: We get another car, a Saturn something something. (I wish the Saturn models were more evocatively named: how is one supposed to play the Anal Game?) I continue to take the bus and the El and taxis (occasionally, when the weather is wet or drunken) everywhere. But then! Mere days ago! I have a few days of vacation, and I am doing the faker stay-at-home mom thing, playing with Nora and wheeling her around Devon in the middle of the day and so forth. Kat and I make a date to get together, and it occurs to me that instead of a slow and filthy bus, and then another slow and filthy bus, I could, theoretically, drive the car to her place; a straight shot down Western and easy parking when I get there. And I did so! And it went okay! I hit the parked car in front of me a tiny bit when I tried to leave, and I had a minor shock when, unbeknownst to me, Nora quietly took off her socks and shoes and then screamed "NAKED!" from the back seat, but I did fine. I may even do it again. On the one hand, I can never completely give up the bus or the train because crazy people! And the fact that I can sit and read all the way to work! On the other hand, when I end up bypassing good shows at Empty Bottle because the thought of the unreliable bus after midnight is too much to bear, this driving thing could be very useful.


My favorite part of being home with Nora is listening to her talk to herself before I get her out of the crib in the mornings. LT claims to be all productive and stuff in the morning, but I don't see how he gets any work done because the office is next to her bedroom and it is way too cute to eavesdrop on monologues like these:

EEEE-I-EEEE-I. EEEE-I-EEEE-I. (long pause) Oh. (longer pause) Moo moo here...

Dog? Dog? Dog. PURPLE Dog. Blanket. Night-night. Wake up!

Mama? All done. All done. (pause) Mama?

Triangle! Mmmm! Yum!

Whee! Whee! Flying! Uh-oh.


February: I witness the aftermath of a horrifying accident that kills a friend of mine, and I end up finding his body and dealing with police and it is all just beyond awful. September: Aaron Hawkins, my grandmother, and my great-uncle all die. Yesterday: I find out that a good friend of ours, someone LT and I have known since our very first day at college, someone we have both lived with, someone we really respected and enjoyed, has killed himself. I still don't quite believe it, and I certainly don't understand it. But I get the feeling I am not supposed to. Understand it, I mean. I guess I have to believe it.

But hey, I drove the car!

---mimi smartypants makes bad jokes and has messed-up priorities when she is bewildered.


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