I have been writing for 8 hours, my back aches and my head is pounding. A pot and a half of coffee has kept the kid active all day. I feel like he is keeping me company, his kicks almost as rhythmic as my typing. I look back on what I have accomplished. Only 10 fucking pages. Seriously? I have been writing my entire life but I never really sat down and took it this seriously with a goal in mind.
I am committed to finishing my novel before I give birth because I certainly won’t have the time to write for 8 hours straight once he pops out and demands every ounce of energy from me. My days will be consumed with breast-feeding and changing diapers and not much else. Any writing I do will most likely be a sleep deprived mess of words, lacking much sense or creativity. Or maybe I will be so inspired by my new role in life that I will start writing fuzzy childrens books with mice that wear purple underwear and ride bicycles while knitting hats for friendly whales.
Speaking of whales, I am going to have to face my all time biggest fear; motherfucking orca whales. Yep, Shamu is the absolute scariest thing in the entire world. I can’t even look at them on television without screaming and throwing my hands over my face. Those damn Sea World commercials get me every time. They show the fucking things flying, literally flying through the sky and I am supposed to act normal?
Well, I am going to have to start acting normal because I don’t want the kid to be afraid of something as stupid as a whale. I mean, in what situation am I ever going to find myself alone in the open water surrounded by killer whales? Which actually is not my real fear. I have dreams where killer whales are no longer confined to the sea or swimming pools at theme parks. They slither up and down city streets and make their way into my home, their giant black and white slimy bodies hovering above my bed, that giant eyeball staring right at me. Oh god, they are so fucking disgusting. But, I have to get over it. I cannot react to a Sea World commercial with a hysterical yelp once the kid is here, only encouraging other such irrational fears in him.
I’m not saying that I ever intend on going to Sea World with the kid. His Father can take him and they will have a lovely time while I stay home, far away from that big eye pressed up against the glass. If he brings home a giant stuffed Shamu I must smile pleasantly even if I am screaming on the inside. So, I guess this is just one more sacrifice I am going to have to make for the sake of a healthy, happy child. Pretending to like Shamu, I can handle that one.
I have never had a driver’s license. When people ask why I don’t drive I usually give my standard answer of, “I choose not to drive for the sake of every other motorist, passenger, pedestrian and bicyclist on the road.” There has to be a more involved reason, a better story behind it all. I am 31 and live in Southern California; not known for its efficient public transportation system. If I lived in New York I would be amongst thousands of people to have never had a driver’s license. But I don’t and I’m not that good of a liar to pretend that I just moved here and haven’t gotten around to the whole driving thing. The fact is….I just don’t drive.
Maybe it started when I was five years old and my Mother was going blind. She was in denial that her eyesight made her no longer fit to drive. She would ask for my assistance with street signs, directions of traffic and whether or not it seemed safe to turn or merge into traffic. I was five fucking years old! We would get lost for hours until the car ran out of gas or she simply parked and cried. The feelings of insecurity must have been intense. I also remember feeling like I had let her down every time we got lost, as if my very existence had caused all this trouble and my lack of knowledge had only exacerbated it. One time she pulled the car into a gas station that was under construction. She had no idea until the car almost turned over into a gaping ditch. That had to be it, right? Nope, she continued driving for months with me as her unwitting co-pilot.
Years after she gave up driving I dreaded the day I would have to be her driver. I knew once I had my license I would be forced to chauffeur her around. And when would that Daughterly duty end? Never, I knew I would be stuck. When I was fifteen they offered a behind-the-wheel driving course at my high school. My Dad immediately signed me up without asking me if I was even interested. He wanted out of the driving Miss Daisy job as much as I dreaded it. I showed up and I did fine with all the pen to paper parts but when it came time for foot to pedal parts, I freaked. My nerves took control and I scared the shit out of the instructor and two of my fellow classmates with the unfortunate luck of being in the back seat of the car. At one point I was on the freeway literally going twenty miles per hour while screaming, “I don’t want to do this!” I then took the next exit and pulled into a gas station (thankfully not under construction). The car had barely come to a stop before I jumped out and ran to the bathroom. I sat on the filthy floor and chokingly cried through my violent convulsions of fear. I truly had no idea until that point that driving a car would have that sort of effect on me.
My next attempt at driving came many years later when I bought a car. I suppose I figured that if I spent all my money on a car then I would force myself to learn how to drive. Plus the car was just adorable and it would be the perfect accessory. It was a 1974 Ford Maverick Grabber: original red paint with black racing stripes, 302 V8, manual brakes. You know, the perfect car for someone who is terrified of driving. I gave it a few attempts but no matter how fucking cute that bitch was I could not do it. I barely touched the gas and goddamn we were moving, stopping the thing took two feet jammed down on that brake until my calves cramped and my toes were numb. So, the Maverick sat in our driveway for about five years until I admitted defeat and sold her to a cute young boy who promised to treat her right.
The bus has been good to me. I have seen some shit I will never forget, shit that I never would have seen otherwise. I have met people who have inspired me, scared me, touched me (literally and figuratively), made me laugh and made me cry. I have watched a young girl get propositioned to be a “ho” and gladly accept the offer as long as she could get “mad faded”. I have seen Mothers dangle infants like rag dolls while screaming on their cell phones, “you the baby daddy bitch, why you trippin’ like you ain’t got shit!” I have seen drunken old men piss themselves, smiling. I have smelled more ass on the bus than I have ever smelled in public restrooms. I have repeatedly been mistaken for someone who gives a shit when it comes to a lone white girl getting beaten by five black girls. I am the last person you should run to in that situation, I will not save you, I will look the other way. And if you ask me for some money I will probably give you some even if you smell like beer and especially if you are honest and say it’s for beer. I never would have had any of these encounters sitting in a car by myself stuck in traffic. I like the choice I have made. Fuck driving.