Monday, August 3, 2009

The Move to LA: Driving

School's over. Summer's coming to a lament-filled close. I feel like I just got home, fresh diploma in hand, ready to catch up on 1001 hours of sleep debts, and now it is August. And, technically, the second week of August, at that. I have caught up on sleep (more or less), visited family, friends, sparked new relationships, and now I have about a month until I setting out on the road for California. When will I return? Who knows.

Typical post-grad story, huh? Well, not quite. There's a lot of 'growing' that
needs to be done in the next month, so to speak. I don't necessarily mean maturity-wise, but rather there are certain things that I lack that most 22 year olds have. Like a license. And a car. I would say and a job, but I don't think I am much behind on that one.

I grew up in DC where pretty much everything is accessible by subway train and/or metro bus. On top of that, my mother hasn't driven since her 20's. I remember, like most teenagers, being eager to attain my license when I turned 16. Had my mom print out the information so that I could study for the test and everything. I forget exactly why, but procrastination crept up on me. And then, before I knew it, it was time to go to college. While at college, I considered my inability to drive on of my best-kept secrets (or maybe it wasn' tell me, guys). I definitely had the desire, but not the time. The years rolled past.

So the summer after my senior year found me carless, licenseless, and, ultimately, LA-bound. Bus and metro (does LA even have those?) just wouldn't do. I had three months to catch up. I visited my cousin, Neil (who lives down in Martinsville, VA, where my mom grew up) with the goal of learning how to drive in a week. The first day we went around and around and then in and out of a parking lot for a couple of hours, learning the basics, and then the next day my cousin decided it was a good idea to just put me on the open road at night. All in all, I'm still alive, Neil's truck is in the same condition as before, and Neil was usually more nervous than I was. Oh, and I learned how to drive (minus parallel parking).

Now all I need to do is make it official. Because of my ripe old age of 22 it seems that I could very well go in this Monday to get my permit and then come back Tuesday to take the road test. To be honest, it took me a while to find this reality actually written out, whereas before I had just seen webpage after webpage talk about the requirements for 'under 21' that I assumed these didn't apply for someone my age. I also guessed that the absence of specific instructions for me age group was due to the assumption that no one would ever need to look for that info. The plan now is to go in and take written test this Thursday the 6th (and with questions like "when is the road most slippery: 2 hours after it rained, right after it has rained, 5 days after it rained, or 1 week after?" I think it's safe to say I'll pass), practice driving a little bit more with my permit and learn how to parallel park, and then go in for road test on Monday the 17th. Kinda scary that someone can actually go from never touching a steering wheel to a licensed driver in less than 2 months, huh? Believe it.

Then that very weekend I'm making a trip up to New York and will probably get a rental car. What better way to try my new driving then on the streets of The Big Apple? I predict that it will be like my cousin Neil, whereas someone else will be a lot more nervous than I will be. Just look at that picture: isn't it just beautiful?

And then there's the part of getting a car. I've been looking with a price range of about $3-5k. I've already found some interesting things and have already almost been the victim of internet scamming. This whole car search doesn't seem to be that difficult, though, and I honestly think I'll have one in my possession right around the same time as that license. But then there's car insurance, tags, gas, blah, blah, blah. What a joy.

By now, after reading all of this, you may have forgotten the scariest part: the cross-country trip. Yep, the plan is to drive 2855.76 miles from Washington, DC to Stanford (spending a couple weeks at my alma mater before heading down to LA) during Labor Day Weekend. Don't worry, though, I'm not taking the trip alone. And I figure it's a great way to purge myself into a driver's realm: everything else about this transition has been on the fast track, anyway.

All in all, I'm excited about this. And this is just Part I of my Move to LA post. The next will be about the job search. I think I'll post it under 'Horror.'

1 comment:

  1. My daughter,also 22,does not have her license.And we don't even have the excuse of living in the city. I learned to drive in a rural area and then never drove for years because I lived in a series of large cities. I finally got behind the wheel and went though a red light. I never had to stop at one before. Yikes.
    I wish you luck on your journey and job hunting.