A Padlet Prompts Me To Reminisce About Driving

My friend invited me to a padlet titled Driver Wall. I decided to add some writing to the padlet wall. Here’s what I shared…

Driver Wall… I like that idea! If I take this literally, I always wanted to drive. In High School, I took a driver’s education class. This class was offered at the same time as the typing class. Driving was important to me as a 15-year-old, so I didn’t mind missing out on a typing class. Besides, I had great penmanship, and my little sister was super fast at typing. When she wasn’t available to transform a blank green monitor into a screen full of glowing letters, my neighbor was happy to type for me if I mowed his lawn or treated him to a burger.

The driving class served me well! I literally ACED the class, and due to the optional extra credit, I was able to complete the class with 150%… How is that mathematically possible? That’s WAY better than an A+! I shared the wealth of information I acquired with my siblings and friends who wanted to learn to drive. Over the years, I developed the skill of patience, so I ended up teaching my friends’ kids how to drive too!

After 3 decades of driving, I drove enough miles in California that after listening to a podcast about a reporter who gave up her car for 6 months in Los Angeles, I decided living without a car in LA would be a fun challenge. I started walking a lot and taking the Metro Goldline when possible. I had to leave earlier for appointments to account for walking and potential delays.

Yes, most trips would have been faster in my car, but I also loosened the tether my car had on me. I had time to discover new coffee shops, restaurants, and bookstores as I walked around town. When I took the train, I could people watch, catch up on my ever-growing book list or whittle down my email inbox. Through the magic of slowing down, I actually became more productive. I actually SAW the buildings and shops I whizzed past for years. I was discovering the city in a brand new way.

It’s been 3 years since I took that nondriving challenge. I discovered that even though Uber & Lyft seem expensive at first glance, it was actually cheaper for me to rideshare than owning a car because I work from home. I was able to work or relax while being driven to my appointments, and as a bonus, most of the trips were tax-deductable. Some friends said taking the Uber/Lyft was cheating, but I saw it as a tool. If I were running late, I would rideshare there and take the train back to my neighborhood and walk back home.

When I noticed hailing rideshare was winning out to walking, I got creative and started a savings plan. If I walked instead of taking a $10 ride, I would transfer the $10 to my savings account. Before I knew it, that savings account was growing week after week, and I was happy to get up a bit earlier so I could get in my FitBit steps AND pay myself for walking!

As I write this, we are 5 months into Covid-19 life. I haven’t left my house much. I’m not driving or getting a Lyft around town. Much of my day is spent in front of a computer screen as I ZOOM to my meetings instead of walking or driving to them.

As I think back to high school, when a typing class was an option instead of a mandatory class, I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice? No driver’s education class is needed to walk or hail rideshare, but it sure is DRIVING me crazy that it took an hour to type this when it would have taken me minutes if I learned how to type!