I used to make fun of old people who wore large hats that drove like they were in charge of a float in a parade years ago. I never thought that I would become one of them—surely it would never happen to me. After I suffered a stroke a few years ago I did not drive for over a year as I felt I might be an endangerment to the general public. When Ange's cancer got worse he insisted I begin to drive again, knowing that I might stay away from the wheel forever. He was right.
I do not drive far these days. I drive in town and at best, 6 miles East, or 10 miles West. After driving once to the city of Ottawa a month ago I knew that my days of cruising anywhere I pleased were over. This morning I had to drive to the Ottawa airport for a pick-up during morning rush hour and was dreading it. It wasn't that it took me over 90 minutes to get to a destination that should have taken me 45 minutes, nor was it the fact I went the wrong way a few times. For the first time in my life I felt uncomfortable driving. When I got to the airport I parked the car, and immediately went to the bathroom and the chapel not necessarily in that order. I understood how the old person in the hat felt as he crawled up the street and irritated everyone with his slowness. Fear.
Stress appears to be one of the major factors in fear of driving and some say to repeat a mantra before setting off – “I love to drive. I love to drive” – or even to park and sit listening to comedy recordings to help view the car as a happy place. Right! Driving is not a right but a privilege, and one best reserved for the competent. That means to think twice before you proceed, especially down the wrong way of a Drive-Thru like I did today.