One of the greatest joys I have is getting behind the wheel of Mei Lin. She’s a great little Mazda 3 Sport that has a helluva kick to her. (Her real name has been changed to protect her reputation).
I swear if I ever get pulled over by the Police and they ask me about my driving, I will turn to them, look them straight in the eye, and say “Zoom zoom!!” The sad times are when I have to return her. She’s the lady that I love riding but don’t really want to keep. Sure I have taken her, and a few of her sisters, home to mom, but none of them are truly mine.
What has led me to be the little automonympho that I am? Zipcar. I love Zipcar.
I am a public transit person and have been my whole life. I had actually sworn off the idea of driving in my youth as something that only taxi-drivers and other manual labour people had to do. But me, someone of high esteem, does not drive, but is driven. Oh, the allure of getting into the back of a cab and having a sudden on-set of English accentism as I am caromed through the streets of our fair city, just because.
I was so proud of my anti-driving stance that I pooh-poohed those who did drive and subjected them to long drives out of their way to meet me - in places without parking. Just to show them how awful they are. Actually, I was just scared.
As a child I got to ride in the front seat, with my two of my brothers in the back. I remember a time when we were in the car at a mechanic's shop and my dad was talking to some of his friends outside, working on another vehicle. Sitting in the front seat gave me a clear view of the handle (Ed: the gear shift) with all the little letters. I turned it to ‘D’ for ‘Daniel’! How harmless could that be? My brothers are yelling at me – “the car is moving! " I told them it was their imagination but as men came screaming towards while we inched closer to the vehicle parked ten feet away with men underneath it, it became clear that the D stood for something else. Disaster.
At sixteen I got my learner’s permit. You don’t actually need to drive a car to get that, just take a test. And I’m great at tests. Like a little show-dog, I’m great in the arena prancing around in my little circle in front of all the judges; just don’t ask me to do something in real life on the fly!
One summer I was working at a horse ranch as maintenance. When you look back over your life and remember certain things, this still shocks me today as a job I held for a few weeks! Seriously – I am asking you not to laugh; it’s just too funny when I remember it! Since I was seventeen and the other guy was sixteen, which made me the senior in our crew, the keys to the beat up old Dodge pick-up were mine. In those few weeks I hit two trees, a tree stump, a staff member, ran over someone’s foot and left it in neutral at the top of the hill – so I was pretty amazing. It was when I almost hit one of the young campers that somehow my assistant got a new promotion.
From then on, I vowed that I had completed my lifetime’s work in the field of transportation and was willing to leave that up to the Sulu’s and Chekov’s of this world. We Spock’s must move to bigger and better things.
It wasn’t until the past few years, that there were even thoughts of driving again. Lululemon has a manifesto – a collection of quotes and sayings that sum up their corporate ideology and mode for living. On it there is one motto that resonates with me “Do one thing each day that scares you”. Now I am not sure if I fully live this, but there were many things that I have allowed fear to stop me from ever trying. It is frustrating, and expensive to constantly take cabs, even though I love the decadence of it. But what if I were able to do it myself? Now that would be something. I could go camping when I wanted to, or to Ottawa or Montreal on a whim, if I chose. So I decided to take lessons.
My first time in the car, I had an anxiety attack. I actually started in classwork first, and had a series of anxiety attacks there too. I don’t know, maybe I’m just afraid my half-Asian side will kick in and express itself in stereotypical driving clichés. Anyway, I drove like an old lady! I took my time.
After several months I was ready to take my driving test. I failed. The second time was a success and when I called my friends and family to let them know, I believe there was a hint of trepidation in their congratulatory sentiments.
Zipcar gave me a viable option for getting on the road in short order. One of the things I never thought would happen was my love of speed. The freedom of the wheels opened up new doors. I started offering to guest teach outside of my little bubble of the world. I’m not exactly a great explorer – I don’t really see myself moving off to Europe for the summer or backpacking through Brazil - but now, maybe one or two evenings a month I can drive myself out to another city and teach there [I love you Moksha Yoga Peterborough!]. It’s my mini-adventure – exploring new worlds and new opportunities - to boldly go where this little city dweller has never gone before.
What’s the other exciting part? Cruising the mean streets of Toronto with my best friend in tow, pumping the music and trolling for bears and cougars. That’s right y’all! We go hunting at night! And how do we celebrate a hunting feast? Late night ice cream on hot waffles. Oh yeah. That’s just how we roll! Jai!