i never crawled. according to my daddy, it was as if i got tired of just sitting there and just took off running. all the while before i became mobile, i was sitting and plotting, thinking about what it took to move my chubby little legs and get them in motion. the wheels turning in my infantile head so early, i must’ve studied the moving patterns of my elders and worked out the physics so well that i was able to skip scooting and get to standing. then walking… and running.

i remember my daddy telling me this when i was about 17 years old. starting my senior year of high school, i guess he had to reminisce about his little girl, his first born, who was getting ready to take the next step in her life. never crawling, never crying, reading at the age of three, i was always slightly ahead of the game. when i wanted to be.

needless to say, i make very calculated moves. i think things out. i even think about the steps i take going down a staircase. i have to look down at each step; if i look out at the end of the staircase, i’m liable to fall, which has happened to me on a couple of occasions. i can see two steps ahead of myself, but focusing on the long term goal can trip me up. and a moment of spontaneity is great, but i love the feel of making a list and checking things off, one by one. depending on how serious the move is…

when i turned 16 and it was time to get my learner’s permit, i took driving seriously. my mother is the best driver i know and i wanted to take after her, but my father encouraged me to slow down. “Driving is dangerous and can be very scary. It’s not as easy as it looks,” he said. really?? because i had it all mapped out in my head how i could drive the car, even without having any experience. after studying and acing the learner’s exam, my mother let me drive on the road as a surprise. i could drive home from the parking lot. it wasn’t that far, but i hadn’t really planned for that just yet. i wanted to think things through a little more, but i jumped behind the wheel, turned on to the street and made a left hand turn into oncoming traffic.

yeah. i don’t know what happened after that really. i covered my eyes, and when i opened them, my mother had magically driven the car to the parking lane all from the passenger’s side of the car. best driver i know. i vowed to never drive again.

fast forward 6 years, my senior year of college. somehow my friends had put up with me always being in the passenger seat, but having permanent shotgun in my homegirl’s car wasn’t really cute anymore. and i really hated needing to get somewhere and always having to bum a ride. so, after graduation, i signed up for driving lessons and got behind the road again. it was terrifying. my driving instructor was a little put off by my white-knuckled grip of the steering wheel, since in his experience a lot of people drive to relieve stress. not me! i needed to learn how to get from point A to point B without maiming any senior citizens or pedestrian children. and that’s it. i had the eye of the tiger and a goal in mind.

initially, i remembered why i never wanted to see behind the steering wheel of a car again. it was gut wrenching trying to anticipate when the next asshat was going to cut me off, but over the next month it became increasingly easier to not have palpitations about whether i was going to get t-boned at the next intersection.1 and i managed to pass the road test quite proficiently. my first time ever parallel parking, i sat quietly in the car, perched before the space and did a few cleansing breaths. no big deal Sarah… it’s just parallel parking, which is simple physics, and you love physics! i had it worked all out in my head, and successfully parallel parked on the first trial.

now, i do drive for fun. you might catch me around the city, cruising in a Zipcar. even though getting behind the wheel of a car does initially give me anxiety, i do a few cleansing breaths, i say a little prayer, and get on the road. by the time i have my stations picked out, or connect to the MP3 port and make my second turn in traffic, i’m cruising and bopping my head to the music. i love the feel of moving through time and space and getting successfully to my destination and back. but i wonder… when and how will i learn to fly?

1i realize this is all very melodramatic, but my mind plays tricks on me sometimes. and tricks are for non-driving kids.
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