Friday, August 17, 2018

Preferences and Necessities

Here in London, we have no need for a car. I love this. I have never liked driving, and I was happy to leave it behind. We get everywhere by walking and public transit. It's wonderful. I can't imagine a reason I would ever want to own a car again, as long as we remain in this city. And I really can't imagine many scenarios in which I would want to drive either. Which is why many people are baffled when I tell them that I'm trying to get my UK driving license. It's not something I want to use here, so why would I want to have it at all?

It's so I can drive every couple of years when we visit the United States. That's it. There is no other reason. I have no desire to drive at all, ever, except when we are visiting family in the US. It is not possible to renew a US driver's license while living abroad, and mine has now expired, and so I have to get one here or force friends and family members to chauffeur me on my visits. As much as I know these people love me, I don't think it's fair to ask them to do this just because I'd prefer not to go through the hassle of getting a license I can use.

And it is a hassle. A gigantic pain in my posterior, really. There have been driving lessons. There has been one failed test. It is not just infinitely harder to drive in East London than it is to drive most of the places I drive in the US, but it is infinitely harder to pass the test. A lot of it comes down to the opinion of the examiner, and therein lies the problem. I have been driving for twenty-six years without any major incidents, and my examiner decided that I couldn't steer. I didn't come close to hitting anything or anyone. I maneuvered around quite a lot of roadworks on narrow roads. And yet he said he felt like there was something wrong with my steering. There was no other detail. Just his feeling. And so I've got to take the test again.

I wish it were a bit simpler. But it's not. I'd prefer not to take the test again, but here I am. It is a necessity. Once it is done, it is done. And then I will get to exercise my preference to never drive in this city, ever again. Necessity first, then preference.

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