Saturday, March 18, 2017

Three Wheelin'

I have written a few times on the single thing that has defined and limited my life more than anything else--my lack of a driver's license.

You people who have them probably take them somewhat for granted. The lack of one tends to manifest in many ways, none of them pleasant and some of them very much unexpected.

Of course, there's the first order consequence: you must rely on others for your transportation. This has several corollaries. Taxis are insanely expensive, but other than inconveniencing a friend or relative, there's no other feasible way to do something as mundane as, say, grocery shopping.  Seeing friends who live across town is doable, but if they live an hour by car away, you're beholden to Greyhound or Via's schedule. (You'd better hope they live in a city big enough to merit a bus/train station).  
There is no feeling quite so helpless as when a friend or loved one gets sick or injured in your presence and you can't drive her to the hospital. Yes, ambulances are a thing, but (a) driving  is faster and (b) ambulances cost some pretty serious coin if they're summoned to a private property.

Your choice of career hinges on your workplace--and anywhere that workplace might send you--being accessible by public transit. This is tremendously limiting unless you're lucky enough to live in a megacity such as Toronto or New York, and even then, a wide swath of jobs in my field is off-limits to me. I'd make a hell of a good vendor but for the minor technicality that I can't get from store to store in any territory the way someone who drives can. 

And sometimes a missing driver's license will rise up and bitch-slap you when you least expect it. I couldn't rent videos from the store closest to my home because they demanded a license as identification and no other piece of ID would do. I was not allowed into a casino at the age of 31 because somebody decided I looked 16 and I never thought to bring my passport to disabuse them of that notion because I was in my own fucking country. (Yes, I know there's a provincial I.D. card that's in theory accepted everywhere. I also know that most people have never seen one and have no idea they're valid.) I actually had somebody demand to see my driver's license before I could get on a Greyhound bus once. Think that one through. Take as long as you need.

My disability -- I may as well call it that -- is getting considerably more common. Car sales are down. The number of people with licenses is declining across all age groups. On the one hand, this makes me feel a lot better...anyone "weird" tends to feel less weird if his weirdness is contagious. On the other, and I know how strange this sounds, I almost feel like I should get a license just to have something more and more people don't. 

A G license is not an option, though. Even with corrective lenses, my vision is not quite adequate, and there are quirks galore that make it considerably less adequate. Chief among those is my depth perception, or rather my lack of one. I have real, ongoing issues making spatial judgements, especially when the edges of something (like, oh, let's just for instance say a car) are not RIGHT THERE. Where do I end and where does the road begin? Your guess is considerably better than mine. The longer the hood of the vehicle, the more hopeless I am. Theoretically, I could manage something with no hood. Now if somebody would oblige me and make a car like that...

What about a motorcycle?

I've thought about that, off and on. Obviously a motorbike is not a bicycle, but it's closer to one than a car is. I've actually handled a little dirt bike for a few hours without ditching it....presumably I could --

-- well, no, probably not. I've yet to meet a motorcyclist who hasn't laid the bike out at some point. Hell, I've been in entirely too many  bicycle mishaps. I've gotten quite good at extricating myself from my bike mid-catastrophe. Yeah, Ken-my-buddy. try that at forty...or sixty...miles an hour. 

What I need is something more stable than a motorcycle. Less likely to send me arse over tip into the next life. Now if only somebody would oblige me and make one.

Umm, yeah. Like that. That looks ideal. A $25,000 price tag, so I'd be getting mine used and not for some time yet, not until five or so years after our next vehicle, which is itself probably three years off. 

Wait a second. (This is me: my mind throws up obstacles like so much chaff, and seizes on any and all of them as ironclad reasons not to took seeing this up close in someone else to realize just how often I do it myself, and how much I really am at fault for limiting myself over the years. Don't bother writing that, it'll just get rejected and make you feel like a reject (reframe: the worst thing that can happen is a simple rejection letter, i.e., the status quo? What the fuck are you waiting for?)

About this, though. What's the monkey-mind gibbering about? Let's tune in--

you're going to have to take your road test on a two-wheeled bike, you know. And to take that road test you're going to have to prove conclusively to yourself that you can drive a two-wheeled motorcycle without turning yourself into a tasty smear. Since we both know that you can't prove that, you useless pile of uselessness, you may as well just give it up. You're hopeless, you know. Waste of spa

*snaps the station off*

You know, I've had about enough of thinking like this. Maybe I lied, above. Maybe the single thing that has defined and limited my life more than anything else is my attitude.

You think?

And would you look here?

"If you take a road test on a three-wheeled motorcycle, you will get a class ‘M’ licence with an ‘M’ condition. With this licence, you will only be able to drive a three-wheeled motorcycle."

Ken, you know, you oughta get the facts before you starting Trumping them up and living your life by the falsehoods in your head. You want the freedom of the open road? You want to be "the balance that could keep her safe"? You've always done that figuratively. You wanna do it literally, huh?

"have you ever felt the warm embrace
of a leather seat between your legs?


"what you see is what you get, girl
don't ever forget, girl
ain't seen nothin' yet..."

--Macklemore, "Downtown"

Stay tuned. This isn't imminent...but it's going to happen.


O YA said...

You ride a bike so traffic and rules of the road you have already mastered. Electric bike or the three wheel mc would do you fine.

Ken Breadner said...

Definitely want the three wheeler: cargo capacity, the ability to ride tandem, and a lot more freedom than an ebike would grant me.... the only thing that will stop this in its tracks is the widespread adoption of self-driving cars which would render it moot.