I had to drive to Bergen County, NJ today. It was the first time I took my car out for more than a 5-minute errand in, well, years. I actually can’t remember the last time I drove it anywhere. It must’ve been sometime toward the end of 2014, maybe even earlier. It was certainly my first time on a highway in recent memory.
There’s something strangely empowering about being able to drive yourself somewhere. Being able to come and go wherever you want. Being able to go door-to-door without relying on someone to pick you up or walking to a train or being at the mercy of a train schedule. I felt like more of a complete adult.
Which is such a strange thought, really. What is it about driving myself around that makes me feel more like an adult than taking the subway or other public transit? In most places, public transit dominates. And by my own principles, I would actually rather take public transit than be another car on the road, especially if it’s just me going somewhere.
But at the same time, being able to just say “OK, I’m going to leave now” and not have to worry about whether you’re going to catch the train or having to leave an extra hour or two earlier because the only train that gets you to your destination on time arrives 45 minutes early, but if you take the next one you’ll be 30 minutes late. I’ve been subject to the schedules of mass transit (planes, trains, buses, you name it) for 6-7 year now at least. It’s so programmed into me and so normal to just have to build in that extra time. Not having to worry about that though? Pretty awesome.
I actually don’t really like driving. I get bored of it pretty quickly, but wow, do I have the driving bug right now. I just want to get in my car and go all the places, just because I can. I have nearly complete control (there’s still traffic to contend with) over where and when I go places and it’s kind of magical. If it weren’t the middle of winter, I’d almost consider driving cross-country or something like that.
Let’s face it, though. The novelty will probably wear off pretty quickly after I realize how much more expensive it is to pay for gas and tolls than it is for a Metrocard!