Chaos Attraction

A Good Driving Day

2012-01-09, 8:11 a.m.

I am happy to report that driving mission #5, Go To Old Town Folsom (note that #4 was "drive to SoCal" on the 26th), was an amazing success. Why, you ask? (a) I wasn't driving by myself, navigating by myself, and having a freaking meltdown when I ran into trouble because I didn't know what to do about it. (b) I was in the car with someone else who was calm, rational, and reasonable. And who is great with maps and navigation. (c) When something did go wrong, she was very chill on figuring out how to fix it.

The something that went wrong-- because something has to every time, dontchaknow-- was that I decided to fill up the tank with gas before we went to Folsom because it was about 5/8 full or so (Zipcar wants you to leave 1/4 of a tank when you leave) and I didn't want to try to figure out where gas was there, should we need any. At any rate, it was about time to learn how to use their gas card to fill 'er up. Where I ran into an issue was that the closest gas station to the car (an Arco) did not take the card. "They don't take credit cards," Dawn said. "Yeah, but beats me if this is a credit card or not," I said. "It requires a PIN number." This was also part of the stumper, since Zipcar says "put in your driver ID number when asked" and the machine at the Arco wanted a PIN. Not that I had one, exactly...anyway, this was enough to get me all confused as per usual. Dawn was like, "There are two gas stations if you drive down the street." So I did, and Shell cooperated with the card nicely. Huzzah!

Anyway, happily, things were cooperative, calm, and happy from there, and I enjoyed driving once again. Dawn is a very good instructor, and sat me down before getting into the car to talk about how we were going to get there. Navigation went well-- we passed by where I had issues going to Sacramento and talked that one out-- and while it took me most of an hour to just leave what with the gas issue, we got there with no problems and even found the parking garage. Woo-hoo!

Old Town Folsom is adorable as ever. I've been before-- Dawn had spotted the place once and wanted to go back-- but this time I actually got there more than an hour before all the stores closed, so I could go in everything. I had a great time in my favorite hippie store up there, getting two books and a poster. We had a lovely lunch. We left by about 2:50 and got back in plenty of time, and even did a little parallel park practicing in a parking lot, which went well too.

It really pointed out to me how much more pleasant it is driving with a sane person in the vehicle. And how much of a nasty price I pay every time I drive in the car with Mom. Is it worth the stress to drive with her if that's the only option? Is the experience behind the wheel worth the picking and the bitching and me starting to hate driving again? No, I do not think so. And damn, Dawn is awesome. We shall be hanging out together more often, and are discussing going to more interesting places. Apparently she wants to go to stuff like the RenFaire and other funky events but doesn't have someone to go with, and I want to go to that stuff but have no car. Assuming everyone has the money to do such things, anyway, 'cause it's been a long-ass time since I went to a RenFaire (2002? Didn't I get handfasted there?) and I have no idea about these things any more.

And you know what? I'm a perfectly fine driver, really. Dawn said I was a little jerky at first and could make a bit smoother lane changes, but other than that I was doing very well. HAH. I forgot how I used to feel like I was a good driver. Hell, I even drove a Prius again today (the Ford I drove on #2 and #3 rentals being taken for the day) and it was fine, didn't break down or anything. Once it got running, it behaved very nicely. I also did NOT go home to cry and drink after driving this time, and even actually did other things afterward like make lunches and go to the gym instead of having a meltdown. Huzzah!

While the "don't drive with Mom" thing is mostly doable as long as she doesn't get an attack of the sleepies or eye dilation from hell, how to get to the point where I can drive by myself without having a meltdown is...gonna take awhile, I guess. I need to figure out what the upcoming week's driving practice is going to be. I may just rent it for an hour after work and drive around town or something and see if I can keep this chill feeling going.

In other news:

I just heard from my friend Jackie, who went to Peru for Christmas this year. She was in a tour bus that got hit by a freaking TRAIN and cut up her left arm and leg, and she's now out of work on disability from that and whiplash, and she mentioned a possible blood clot? Holy shit.

Huzzah, I got another Best of Holidailies! Thank you, thank you! I worked on that for pretty much the entire month too!

Sadly, our time doing Holidailies is coming to an end again. Wah. I hope it comes back next year, though what with everyone else loving to tweet more than write journal entries now, I don't know any more. (Again, MAJOR thanks to Richard and Jennifer for keeping the portal going.) I'd like to think that at least some of us will keep coming back next year, but if somehow that doesn't happen, I'll bid everyone farewell and it's been lovely seeing you so frequently one month a year.

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