This is part of a series of stories by Kimmel, who's given up her car and is relying primarily on public transit.
Over the weekend I rented a car to visit my grandma for her 82nd birthday. As I got in my Chrysler 200, a car way nicer than anything I'd ever buy myself, a flood of memories washed over me.
The people who tell you that it's "like riding a bike" are dead wrong. I had forgotten how much I had to do before I could even put the damn car in reverse, let alone exit the car rental place - adjust my side mirrors, adjust my rearview mirror, check the fuel level, adjust the air temperature, find a radio station, adjust my seat, put on my seatbelt and eventually press my foot on the brake and move the shifter to reverse.
As I backed out, I had to look in every direction - front, back, left, right and eyes back to my mirrors. I put the car in drive, took a deep breath and was on my way to Fort Wayne.
Having done the bare minimum of driving in the last six months, I forgot how stressful it could be and all of the things you have to think about. I didn't realize how mindless riding the bus and walking really are.
I actually surprised myself as I heard a scream come out of my mouth when I got on the Interstate and was nearly sideswiped by a semi with an oversized load. The scene was straight out of the movie Clueless when Dionne is learning to drive and gets on the highway for the first time and everyone in the car is screaming at the top of their lungs.
I forgot how frightening driving is!
Once on the Interstate, I had to watch my speed, think about every other car around me, pay attention to signs, remember to use my turn signal, check my blind spots and mirrors and try really hard to keep my eyes on the road and not on my phone, all while remembering to breathe and keep calm.
It didn't take long to remember the feeling that comes when there are flashing lights in the rearview. Even if I am going the speed limit and have NOTHING to worry about, when I see those red and blue lights in my mirror, I am suddenly a drug dealer carrying ounces of weed, going 100 miles per hour over the speed limit. My heart skips a beat, I start sweating, shaking and trying to make my way over to the side of the road.
Luckily, this time I was only witness to a cop stopping to help someone with a flat tire, but the shortness of breath and the impending jail sentence will never escape my mind.
To top it all off, spending $78 in gas for a weekend trip adds even MORE stress.
I suddenly feel lucky and relieved that I don't have to deal with the hassle of driving every day. I'll continue to happily ride the bus and walk myself anywhere I need to go and remember this past weekend any time I start to doubt the decision.
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