February 26, 2013

Confession: I am afraid...

I am afraid...to drive.

Driving has always made me a little nervous.  I was never all that excited to get my license.  When I think about my first time driving alone I cringe and dread when that day comes for my kids.  I hate driving places I've never been before.  If I can I like to do a practice trip a few days before.

Now that we've moved back to an area where the people are referred to as Mass-holes especially about driving, my fear has increased a bit.
I've noticed since moving back here that people are pretty mean on the roads here.  They're not afraid to use their horns, they don't like to let others go first, they are aggressive, and they often make up their own rules.  I don't quite fit in with these practices.

But the culmination of my fear happened a few weeks ago picking Ryan up from school.  Ryan's pre-k class is released 15 minutes before the rest of the school.  So by the time the three kids and I are back in the car ready to leave we are usually pretty trapped by all the parents double parking and waiting in cars for the regular school release.

On one particular day I could see it was going to be difficult to get out.  Cars were parking all over the place.  One car in the waiting line backed up so I could pull out of my aisle and make it to the exit.  Unfortunately it was such a tight turn and the other cars were not going to move for me.  I should have just stopped and sat there for those 15 minutes, but I felt pressured.  More cars had come and were waiting on me to move.  I felt like now I was the one blocking the one and only "moving" lane.  And that is when I made the big mistake.  I continued to try to inch forward.  Except the side of the minivan had become too close to the car next to me.  I hear a bump and I know I've hit the car parked next to me.  Cue the expletives coming out of my mouth.  I tell the kids to hush down.  At this point one of the cars in the waiting line that would not budge for me has now pulled forward.  I jump out to see the damage I had done.  There was a scratch on the rear bumper of the car.  I am panicked and embarrassed.  Everyone just saw me scratch that car.  I knew what I had to do, but I was so wishing this hadn't happened and that I wasn't alone in that parking lot right then.  I called my sister.  She is amazing and can talk me through anything.  She helps me write a note to leave on the car's windshield.  Yes, I was the poor fool leaving an "I'm sorry I accidentally scratched your car" note.  My handwriting looked like I was in third grade because I was shaking so badly.  Tears were pouring from my eyes as I drove off.  This day had become a bad one for me.

In the end, the person never called me.  Although for at least a week after I was terrified waiting for the phone to ring.  Actually, there is still a part of me afraid I'll get a call.  The scratch was just a tiny little bit of missing paint on their plastic bumper.  It probably wasn't a big deal, but in the moment it felt like a huge ordeal.  I learned a few things, like I'm never going to try to squeeze my minivan through tight spots ever again, even if that means everyone has to wait.  I now go to the school parking lot way earlier than release time in hopes of getting a spot that has easy access to the exit.    But the biggest thing this whole situation left me with is a renewed and greater fear of driving.

Have you ever been in a similar situation?  Have you had to write a note like that?  Have you ever received a note like that on your car?


Anonymous said...

So sorry! I try not to stress about driving (especially because it is unavoidable...and I know others that have such a deep fear of driving, it can be a major issue).

I think drivers on the coasts are awful! Driving on I-5 or in Seattle really makes me miss simple Lawton, OK ;) Remember when Cache and Sheridan where the biggest roads in town??! HA!

People just need to chill out and have patience on the roads. Don't feel bad, accidents happen! I'm pretty sure every single person who has a license will end up in some sort of fender bender in their lifetime. You are lucky it was just a scratch!

The Fischer Family said...

I have always loved to drive so I can't really understand where you are in that fear, but I've been in plenty of accidents (not my fault, any of them! Honest! OK- well, one was!) Accidents are scary!

For some reason I have an irrational fear of cops! Honestly, a cop pulls in behind me and my legs and hands will start shaking!! It's ridiculous but they scare me to death! And my cousin is married to a cop (actually 2 of them are!) and I have lots of friends that are cops! Crazy the things that bring us fear isn't it?!?!

I hope you've been able to come back down from the accident high as I call it (if only it was a feel good high!!). It can take awhile but you'll be alright!

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