I don’t like to drive when there’s someone else in the car who can take the wheel. I’ll happily hand over my keys. “Baby, you can drive my car” is my anthem. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe I talk too much and don’t focus on the road, maybe I don’t like backseat drivers.
But when I drive by myself, I enjoy it. I turn up the radio very LOUD and jump from station to station — my fingers wear off the numbers from the buttons — always looking for a better song (unless it’s Led Zeppelin or Chris Cornell, then I settle down and stop looking until it’s over.)
Now that gasoline prices are so high, I thought again about what cars mean to us. They mean freedom. It’s that simple. And when you can’t drive your car, you lose some freedom. Some family members go on errands that could easily be combined in a more efficient route. Sometimes they make two or three trips, when one will work. I wanted to help them figure this out. Of course, I was rebuffed. They liked the drive! They could blast the radio the way they couldn’t at home in a house full of people. Ok, now I get it. I don’t make special trips just to get out, but now I understand all of the extra driving. Freedom, baby. (The Kansas City area has more miles of road per driver than most cities, which makes it easier to cruise. Just avoid rush hours.)
It’ll be hard making the adjustment to less driving as gasoline prices continue to rise. Even me, the staycation queen, likes to get out once in a while and blow out my eardrums as I go exactly where I want to go when I want to go. I’m sure that if public transportation were better, I’d love to leave the driving to someone else and maybe find a new kind of freedom. I never missed a car while traveling in Europe, for example. I loved the trains! The overcrowded buses — not so much.