I've spent most of my life avoiding driving. I just wasn't interested. I had a license in California, but I almost never drove. I'm estimating that I've spent less than 30 hours behind a wheel. Living in New York for nearly four decades always kept me thinking, "what do I need a car for." When I left the Manhattan two years ago, the cost of a garage for a car was topping out at more than $600-$1000, depending on the location. That's insane. Parking a car is a guarantee of dings, and a very high possibility of theft. Oh, I wanted to rent a car occasionally for a weekend trip, or when I was on vacation, but in the end, it was easier not to bother with the stress and expense.
Before I got to Portland, I still wasn't thinking I needed to drive here. The city has a very good bus and light rail system, that is until you compare it to New York City's. I still have bitter memories of leaving a friend's house on a typically rainy Portland night (it had taken me an hour to get there via two buses, during torrential rains and a bus system that slowed to a crawl in bad weather)--by car it would have taken six minutes tops. I left my friend's home at 7:15 PM. I had a dinner date at another friend's home--by car a less than fifteen-minute drive. The scheduled buses never arrived. I stood out there for more than 45 minutes under an umbrella as the winds and rain lashed at me from all sides. In desperation, I called my friends to come rescue me. Just before she picked me up, a bus finally lumbered top a stop in front of me. "Where the hell have you been?" I bellowed at the lady bus driver. She said, several drivers had called in sick. In New York that would never happen but I'm in Portland now. Best to ignore the bus system unless it's your only alternative.
Off the DMV I went in search of a license. I took the test study booklet and passed the written test on the first try. The next step was driving lessons. And then I didn't do anything about it. I was still in denial about driving. Maybe I was worried about driving at 60. I have a temper. I'm thinking road rage could be a problem. People do stupid things when they drive, and I hate stupid drivers. I love to drink. I can't drink and drive. This is not fun.
Then Kyle moved last year. He's got a truck. Suddenly it's "driving Miss Daisy" time. Kyle was free to drive me wherever I wanted to go. It was great. He had a big white truck, and I had a drive-on-demand service. It was great until Kyle decided the world was coming to an end and he had to find out how to stop it (another story, but I'm not getting into that now).
So back to DMV my brother (on a visit) took me in the white truck (which I now own). I can't have a truck in my driveway that I can't drive. I got the driver's manual and crammed for the test again, since my learner's permit had expired. A few days later, I went back to the DMV for the written test. I failed! My nerves got the best of me. I took the test again the next day and failed it again. And again the next day. This sucks. I'm a nervous wreck. I can't find a test on the Oregon DMV site that goes beyond ten questions, so I go on-line looking for a sample tests and find this site that features tests in every state--$19.95 per month. I pay the fee and proceed to fail every sample test they give me. The questions were written so poorly that I would make mistakes on questions I knew the answers to. I spent four days getting fewer and fewer questions right and by the time the following Tuesday rolled around, when I would take the test for the fourth time, I was ready to throw in the towel and buy a pair of skates.
The good news is the fourth time was a charm and I got 90% of the questions. Now I have to take lessons. Tomorrow is my first--a three-hour marathon. I'm just warning you. Stay away from the vicinity of SE Portland. I have to learn in a small car, but I have this huge Ford 4 x 4 truck and I have to be able to drive that monster around the city. So my buddy Sara, promises that we'll drive my monster into a parking lot of a Wal-Mart after hours and get used to manoeuvring a tank around.
Wish me a luck...to be continued....
In the meantime, flowers are peaking up in the gloom of this spring, and you all know how much I love to photograph flora.
I always forget what these blooms are called. This impressive bouquet comes from Trader Joe's and cost all of $3.99!
This is a hydrangea I bought from a plant at Easter the first spring I was in Portland. I've moved it several times as the sun tends to fry it. It's found a happy place just outside my kitchen door. It will be gorgeous in a week or so.
This is an English rose with an apricot bloom that I bought at the end of last season. These are just the first blooms. If I cut them, the roses will bloom all summer long. A really beautiful rose.
Peonies just as they are about to bloom. Wait until a week or so. They'll be gorgeous.
The first yellow rose on the trellis,