Wednesday, July 03, 2013

My Year of Not Driving

Not long after we moved to New York last year, my California driver's license expired. I saw no urgency in getting a new one because we didn't have a car. Moreover, the New York DMV doesn't let you make appointments and isn't open on weekends (even in California's budget-strapped condition, this situation would be grounds for a riot).

So I went almost a year without driving — no rental cars, no Zipcar, nothing — my longest stretch without getting behind the wheel since I was a teenager. I have to say, I didn't miss it at all (though there was one business trip where a colleague had to drive the whole time because I couldn't).

It also let me win bragging contests with other insufferable people.

In this era of decreased driving, not owning a car seems to have overtaken "I don't own a television" as the No. 1 way of establishing superiority over others. Well, clearly not having a license trumps not owning a car, right? (Even if it raises the possibility that I lost my license in a DUI incident.)

Anyway, my stint as a non-driver came to an end last month when I was forced to drag myself to the DMV for a couple reasons:
(1.) We had to rent a car in Atlanta, and my wife wasn't putting up with me not driving. 
(2.) If my license lapsed more than a year, I would have to take the driver's test again.
The idea of taking a driver's test without owning an actual car was especially disconcerting. How does one do that? I didn't want to find out.

Anyway, so I'm now part of the licensed majority again, for better or worse. And with our trip to Atlanta, I managed to leave New York City for the first time in about 10 months.

I feel like both these accomplishments helped stop my descent into becoming an eccentric shut-in from a "Law & Order" episode.

Still, I've lost my bragging rights.