Dear me at 15:
Your hopes have just been shattered. A wise woman has just told you that, no, you’re too blind to drive and you shouldn’t even bother taking the driver’s ed classes because you’ll fail the vision test horribly.
It really was blunt. You’re not mistaken about that. I don’t even doubt you those wild sobs and honest tears at the loss of rite-of-passage. Like a monument from afar, some teenagers are offered a sight of that rite of passage from a distance and are able to pass through it however many times they want. You can only snatch glimpses at it as you’re held back by blindness.
But, girl, that woman with the flickering eyes, with one eye socket that looks like it’s been popped in too far and the eyeball sticks out? The woman who oozes confidence and know-how and connections even though she reads with her nose touching the paper? She really is wise.
You’ll find that, in five years, you won’t be able to read street signs until they are right upon you and you’d be veering off the road to try to read every one.
You’ll find that, in ten years, it takes your eyes a full thirteen minutes to adjust to the dark and that you genuinely need someone’s arm to walk across a dimly-lit parking lot.
You’ll also find that you enjoy the world so much more when you’re permitted to stare at it out of car windows, turned to face the door, nose against the cold glass, instead of having to concentrate on the road. Doing this helps you memorize the new cities you’ll move to so you can traverse them yourself, by bus and by foot.
Walking gives you so much more scope, and you can discover details in gutters, in yards, on signs, on building fronts. You’ll find that children love the bus much more than they’d ever love the car seat.
Children. Your children. The children you still have the ability and the mobility to raise even though you have to adjust your mentality from Soccer Mom with Van or Suburban. And you aren’t distracted by the stress that driving can bring; you can enjoy their babbles, their songs, their pointing fingers.
So, Fifteen, just admit that you were horrible at that first and only chance you had behind the steering wheel. You know, when your dad let you drive your grandpa’s van around the park. Twice. It probably wasn’t that it was a van or that you had two men directing your actions. Just think—your driving nightmares would be more frequent if you had any more time at the pedals.
Besides, walking is better for your health, even if bus stops are filled with cigarette smoke. And getting a ride from people make those people your friends because of the conversations you would not have had otherwise.
Kate Twitchell is running, skipping, and splashing her way through the Internet; her newest habit is winking at people with her blind eye. Kate blogs at Explore With Twine (http://explorewithtwine.wordpress.com) and is a proud resident of Salem, Oregon.