To Answer a Question

Someone recently asked why I started running again. This is my answer:

I am not a good driver.

Let me explain this further. Yes, I am—as the oversized Con Ed worker wearing a ridiculously small orange bib told me when I couldn’t merge lanes fast enough—a “worse driver than his grandma.” I’m an Asian American woman behind the wheel of an SUV, which should mean that I’m predisposed to the “lead foot” syndrome. But I’m not. In fact, I drive within 3 miles of the speed limit wherever I go. And you know what other crazy, horrible things I do? I signal before changing lanes, yield to pedestrians, and take up only one space in a parking lot.

To set the record straight, I did not “just start driving yesterday.” Like most people, I got my license at the tender age of 17. And I am not “blind.” I may wear corrective contact lenses, but my eyes are working just fine otherwise.

I like traffic rules. I know that it’s wrong to like the law, to feel good when I see the “po-po” in the next lane, but I do, I cherish it. I’m the nerd that got all questions right on the written test and did not make one mistake on the driving test back in high school. But apparently I am a bad driver because I know what a double yellow line means.

My worst offense is probably stopping at stop signs. I can’t help it. I can read, something that started when I was about 5 or 6. So when I see the word “STOP” in bold capital letters, I have this innate desire to cease moving.

The other day, I got into my car, drove to a town about 5 miles away, and registered my daughter for summer camp. Weary of scaring half the folk between here and there with my bad driving, I tried my best to imitate a “good” driver. I attempted to accelerate 15 miles above the speed limit. All the while, my heart raced and stomach felt queasy. The site of the “po-po” did not comfort me. When it was time to park my car, I took up two parking spots near the front of the building, next to another similar sized SUV who had done the exact same thing. The owner, who was about to get in his car, gave me a nod. It was a “bro” type of gesture that I had never been on the receiving end before. I tried to give a nod back. It left me out of sorts.

This is why I am a bad driver. This is why I don’t like driving.

This is why I started running again. Feet on the ground, one step at a time…