Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is the third part of a weekly blogging exercise in which I'm participating. Go here to find out more or join in.

I was once a California driver. I was in love with my silver Honda (and before that my unreliable Jeep Cher, which frequently left me stranded on deserted desert roads), speeding down the I15 to return to my High Desert home from the "real" parts of Cali, 11-hour road trips down to New Mexico, trips to anywhere with friends or mountains to climb or rivers to raft. I'd been hooked on cars since the age of 7, when my father first put me on his lap and let me steer our Chevy. I learned to drive long before I could get my permit and this came in handy one night when my mom woke me in the wee hours and said she was experiencing severe abdominal pain. I speeded her off to the emergency department and the doctors quickly determined that she had appendicitis.

In my 20s I became more of a rager, or to use the '90s term -- road rage(r) -- swearing up and down at drivers who cut me off or otherwise offended on the road. I also perfected my glare of death. But outside of Cali freeway traffic I still enjoyed driving.

Fast forward to before our move to Istanbul from Bursa almost a year and a half ago. I'd visited Istanbul enough times (though 1 was probably enough to realize this) to know that the traffic situation was sheer madness -- a create your own lane, break every rule free-for-all. Thus I made the decision to quit, resign my place behind the wheel for the length of my stay, however long that may prove to be. And thus my driving career came to an abrupt end...

And now? I've found that, surprisingly, I really don't miss it. Public transport offers up an endless supply of one of my favorite pastimes -- people-watching. Not being behind the wheel means a relaxing commute on the bus when I can prepare my mind for the day ahead, and in the evenings wind down and destress with my music. I also realize that if I hadn't quit driving, I would be a much more wired, stressed and angry person right now. So here's to quitting the steel and wheel habit -- for now.