Tell me if you’ve seen this one: woman loses her father to a horrible accident on a major freeway. Her mental unraveling starts when she fears the freeway, frets over the safety of her children, and cannot throw out the clothes her father died in. Her breakdown is utterly complete when she can’t bring herself to drive on the freeway, she can’t stop checking seat belts, and she starts to stand in front of the mirror, wearing her father’s bloody clothes.
The progression of slipping away starts slow. So slow you don’t see it. This woman started out saying she could remember a time when she loved to drive. She can pinpoint the moment her reality started to slide sideways; the moment when when she could no longer control the fear that overwhelmed and consumed her. Her life skidded out of control.
I have been there. Not to that degree. Never to that level. But, I have been there in my own vehicle. I am at the point where I don’t drive unless I absolutely have to – I drive to work and I drive home. If there are errands to run and kisa isn’t as my beck and call, those errands stand still. I wait for my chauffeur to take me where I need to go. My motives are as masked. I am my mother when I slip in another, unplanned, unannounced destination. Stamps, hot dog buns, prescriptions, socket wrench. If I can’t walk there I’m not going. Letters go unmailed, dinner substitutes are made, headaches pound away, and things remain unfixed. It’s the reason why I don’t plan road trips anymore. It’s the reason why everyone picks me up. It’s the reason why I go greyhound. I don’t know how this happened. I don’t know where the driver in me went without myself and moi. We used to go everywhere. Gabriel was king and I was queen of the clown car.
This woman who was afraid to drive had to face her fears.