- Where did you go the first time you drove by yourself?
My mom managed a Japanese restaurant a mile or so from the house. I’m pretty sure the first time I drove anywhere by myself was bringing the car back from dropping her off at work. It was meant to be practice. Drive mom there, then drive home alone. A slightly less (but still) boring alternate answer: the first time I drove my own vehicle alone the first time, my dad woke me up one Saturday morning and tossed me the keys to the truck and said, “Learn to drive it!” It was a stick, and I’d been having slight difficulty learning to really drive it while he was riding shotgun. He knew it, too. So he told me to take it out and learn to drive it on my own. It was actually kind of brilliant because I knew what I needed to work on. I drove into Waimalu Valley where I found a small rise, then worked the clutch and gas back and forth, pulling up the rise, coasting backward back down it, and holding steady midway up. Then I took it into town and drove it up Nuuanu Avenue a few times. I was going to have to take my sister to school, and that was the main hill between home and her school. I pretty much had it down pretty quickly, so then I just drove around for the fun of it.
- Who was the first non-family non-instructor you drove anywhere, and where did you go?
In that first drive in the truck, I picked my friend Colleen up, and we cruised around Makiki for an hour or so. It was fun. It’s still fun. I love driving.
- What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done behind the wheel?
I’ve done some pretty stupid things behind the wheel, but the dumbest has to be driving without my glasses. I had a pair of novelty glasses and I thought it would be funny to pick up a friend while wearing them. Two blocks from his family’s house in military housing, I pulled over and put the novelty glasses on, putting my prescription glasses in the glove compartment. Stupid stupid stupid! If I’d done it to impress a girl, that would have been one thing, but this was just some guy I offered a ride to. We were on our way to meet a some other computer nerds at some computer nerd gathering somewhere.
- What’s the nicest drive you’ve ever taken?
Near the end of my second-to-last semester in Hilo, Captain Daveman, Tasha, Rosanne, and I drove to Kona for a picnic. I’d never been! We took Tasha’s cute little Mazda two-door hatch. Dave drove out, we had a great time, and I drove back. It was dark coming back, and we were all aglow from the nice day. Some of us slept. Rosanne rode shotgun, and we sang along to whatever was playing on Tasha’s stereo. I would have confessed my love for Rosanne that night if she’d pressed me, whether or not I was actually in love with her (I wasn’t). We were all feeling so good I probably would have confessed my love for everyone in the world, but it would have been most true of — well, R of course, but Rosanne would have been second. Visually, it was a far better drive going out there. But sometimes the nicest drives don’t involve scenery at all. I’ve taken lovely drives in California, Virginia, and Tennessee. I can’t think of one that compares to that long, starry, dark drive from Kona back to Hilo.
- Who’s the worst driver you know?
Speaking of driving in Virginia, I was visiting JB and his soon-to-be wife in Richmond. We went to DC to pick up a rental van for some people flying in for the wedding, taking the day also to see the Orioles host the Mariners in Camden Yards. It was the summer Cal Ripken would break Lou Gehrig’s ironman record for consecutive games played. We’d taken the fiance’s car up (of course I know her name but since I’m about to talk smack about her I’m keeping it off Google; we’re friends now after all these years but still), but JB drove the van back, and asked me to ride shotgun with the fiance to help her stay up. Turns out the fiance doesn’t have depth perception and drives RIGHT UP ON THE CAR IN FRONT OF HER. At freeway speeds in the dark of night down through major construction. I have never been so scared with someone else behind the wheel. That ride from DC back to Richmond was incredibly long, and when we finally (miraculously) pulled into the driveway, I got out of the car and kissed the ground. Yes I did. Then JB came over and whispered, “Forgot to warn you she’s the worse driver ever.”
I’ve been thinking about how Crush Girl might be reading this, and I’m sliiiightly self-conscious now. Trying not to think about it, but I think sometimes this week I’ll write an open letter to her in this space, just in case she is. Although really, after what I’ve already written, I’m not sure I have much more to say.
Mochi Girl used to read this space, in the time leading up to our near-miss and for some time after. Rosanne has also read it, leaving comments here and there (I haven’t written about it here but Rosanne was an exchange student at UH Hilo and we had a little bit of a fling for two days before she went back). I don’t think K ever read it, but S was at least aware of it. R was aware of it from day one but I think she chose never to read it as a matter of principal. And of course Mr. HBA (that’s Mr. R) has read it. I’ve been told he was pretty pissed about some of the things I’ve written. I don’t apologize for expressing myself and I take nothing back, but I do understand if the man thinks I unfairly wrote bad things about him in a public space.
I can’t point to a specific day when it was over, but I realized this week that I’ve been out of the Crush-Girl-initiated depression. I also didn’t realize until this week how deeply I was in it.
I don’t use this word depression lightly. I know what it means. And while I don’t have a diagnosis, a college professor pretty much convinced me I probably have a low-grade version of it, and conversations with friends who have been diagnosed reinforce my belief. It’s why I write so much about the darkness. Whatever it is, it takes me into these really dark spaces; thankfully never truly incapacitating, but nearly.
I’m not struggling to get out of bed and look at the world anymore, and it was a pretty solid month and a half of it. I’m still sad, of course. The Crush Girl stuff is rough ground, and I half wish I’d never even gone there, because now all the normal things in my life feel quite a bit lamer.
Someone I know works in an office with a terrificly beautiful view, and she feels lonely there. Her coworkers work across town, and she hasn’t bonded yet with the people in her office space.
“I have this amazing view and nobody to share it with,” she said to me one day recently.
I almost said, “Welcome to my whole life!” but I resisted. I don’t have to make every conversation about me, despite popular belief.
At least the friend has a family and kids. She’s only lonely at work! Haha.
Anyway yeah. Still sad. But not stay-in-bed-for-sixteen-hours miserable. Someone at work commented on it. She said I seem to have returned to my former self. I wouldn’t go that far, but I appreciate the observation, the sentiment, and the concern.