On driving

My driver’s license expires in five days. To renew it this year, I’ve been requested to come into a DMV office and take a written test.

I have fond memories (well, they’re fond now) of learning to drive with a stick shift, calling my parents in tears demanding directions when I got lost just over the hill from home, getting into a fender-bender out of state at college, loaning my car to a boyfriend who promptly totaled it on a city street. Ahhh, good times!

I’m assuming that if I read the driver’s manual and crammed just before taking a test that I’d have no problem passing it. So the actual test is not worrisome.

Even going into the office is not my biggest concern. Although I would be curious to see how the staff reacts to my wheelchair. (I don’t have a car with hand controls — wouldn’t help anyway — and I still have my motorcycle permit on there!)

Does it define me?

I’ve been waffling over whether to renew it at all. Period.

I have been conditioned by society that having a driver’s license is a precious rite of passage into adulthood. Once it has been awarded, I am urged to never give it up voluntarily. Indeed, there are seniors still driving who should not be.

And the last time I went into the DMV, weak and unsteady but still able to stand, I was encouraged to retake the motorcycle test as well as the driver’s test, even though I hadn’t studied for it and wasn’t even intending to keep it.

The DMV employee said that if I relinquished the motorcycle license, “it would be more work to reapply for it later than to renew it now.”

What if I maim others?

But the argument against drunk driving applies here as well: how would I feel if I hurt or killed others?

We have several friends who don’t have a license to drive, who have never gotten one. So clearly I have examples of how to manage as an adult without a license, role models if you will, close at hand.

I have not driven myself in over four years. With friends and family chauffeuring me around, I might not even miss it at this point.

OK, then. Good-bye, license. It’s been fun.

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