I. Hate. Driving.


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stockphotos.com

Maybe I’m the only one. I’ve tried to remember one time when I actually enjoyed buckling up, turning the key, and pressing on the gas.

Perhaps it’s because I live in Rhode Island. We’re the smallest state, and our roads are busy, all the time. Even the sweet back roads, which I prefer, are crowded. There always seems to be someone (usually in one of those roaring trucks) bearing down on me. I keep to the speed limit; I’m not granny-slow by any means, and on the highway I keep up with traffic. I just hate driving.

I didn’t learn to drive until I was 28 years old, so this isn’t a recent dislike. When I was in high school, my mother was involved in a really bad crash (two trailer trucks racing down Route 95, she was caught between them and one of them pulled into her lane). She was very fortunate that evening and survived, but I don’t think she ever really got over it. And I probably didn’t realize it at the time, but the fear of driving was lodged in me. All through college, I didn’t need to drive. When I graduated, I worked in Switzerland for a while. Ah, Switzerland, where the trains are efficient, the roads don’t have potholes, the buses are clean. And gasoline is expensive, hence the reliance on good public transportation.

According to AAA, it costs, on average, nearly $9,000 a year to own and operate a car. That includes fuel, maintenance, insurance, tires, car payments if you make them, property taxes for some. My father-in-law was just complaining that his insurance went up. Well, yes, he’s nearly 81 years old – and considered more of a danger on the road. To his credit, he drives about five miles a day at the most. How many cars in your household? Got teenage boys on your insurance? Sorry.

Oh, wait, I can remember one time when I was happy driving. It was about twenty years ago and I was heading north to visit my old college roommate and her family in Vermont. I stayed on Route 95 to avoid driving through Boston (are you kidding me?!), and once I’d passed through Laconia, New Hampshire, the traffic thinned out. The last stretch of road into Littleton and west to Saint Johnsbury was actually enjoyable: smooth road, no other cars, pretty scenery. Yep, one time.

Tell me I’m not alone in this.