This past summer I was on one of those giant floating swans and actually grazed someone else’s bird. At that exact moment my husband, mother-in-law, mother, father-in-law, quite literally, everyone and their mother, chuckled. It was also the point when I rolled my eyes, waved my hands in the air and communicated “whatever.” Spatial challenges have never been my forte.
Lets just say it took a few tries to get my learner’s permit but I do like to boast that I got my permanent driver’s license (highway test and all) with one try. You know why? Because I was finally old enough to ignore that nagging feeling and the naggy people. Plus, if you actually look at the bigger picture, if I had not grown up in a large urban centre where you can take the subway or cabs everywhere, maybe I would have built up my skills over time. Because it’s just like how they frame studying for tests in school, it’s a muscle and you need to practice everyday, especially when there’s memorization involved. Makes sense, non?
But you know what happens when you move to a new country with no extended family to rely on in the area? Your husband leaves town for a conference and you drive your son back and forth to preschool in torrential downpours. I believe they call them Nor-easters. You drive in these conditions after a 3 year hiatus from operating any form of motorized vehicle and one week of practice. I am an excellent driver. Who knew! You know what else you do? You meet your husband’s colleague’s wife for coffee and then a few days later ask her to put her name and contact information on your records at daycare. Basically, she became the person they would call under excruciating circumstances if they could not reach either of us. But she gets it. As someone who’s American but just moved here from Edinburgh, she knows that you don’t need to be tight before you’re someone’s emergency person because well, there’s no one else. Plus we want to be friends with them, they’re cool.
I wish these circumstances would happen more often. When someone would figuratively pick me up and throw me off the dock. I would imagine myself in a lake in Muskoka, having a ball, and learning to swim. But see, it would be under my terms to stay in the water. After you get a taste of this freedom, trust, you never get out.