December 28, 2021 By Liz Wildberger

It’s Not the End of the World

“It’s not that I like to drive . . . I like the convenience of driving.” I was trying to justify the fact that all five of my children had persuaded me, at the age of 90, to stop using my Prius as a potential murder weapon, with varying degrees of graphic description. I had listened, patiently, I’d thought, to arguments extolling the cessation of expensive insurance, the cost of gasoline (rising), and the expense of car repairs on a hybrid car. Wouldn’t I be happy to have those budget items removed? I could use Uber or Lyft with a touch of my finger on my Smartphone. My friend listened sympathetically. “They want you to reach 100,” she said. What she didn’t say, which ensures our friendship was: “They know you. You’d rather spend the extra minutes at your computer, writing.” My friend was right. Until recently, I’ve had a busy schedule of events, punctuated by frequent class sessions of exercise, swimming every day, teaching, writing and editing. I did not have time to walk everywhere I needed to go! Or so I thought.

If the Covid year had taught me anything, it’s that the viruses are in charge of our fate, and the vast supplies of Aveeno and Gold Bond soothing cream due to handwashing reinforced that realty. I began to walk, accompanied by my husband Marty’s rickety walker. It was a handy tool to guarantee I would not fall. I used the PVE bus to handle my grocery shopping at Raley’s and the Travis AFB Commissary. The driver carried my packages directly to the door of my home after a successful conclusion of a foraging expedition. I started to explore the many services that PVE offers non-drivers and found the providers courteous and respectful. Even the security force at the main gate were available to drive me in a golf cart to destinations within the campus. I used Lyft and Uber available on my smartphone. In other words, I was “working the system.”

Did I miss driving? Certainly, I did! But I rationalized the process in the words of a wise therapist: “You deserve to have your very own driver. After decades of ferrying children to school, volunteering for community service, performing kindnesses involving driving, you are finally of an age to see this as your reward and not your disability.” I think I have finally abandoned my Eeyore-like depression and moved on to healthier matters. If Winnie the Pooh was able to convince a donkey who looked on the gloomy side of life about these matters, surely a professionally trained skilled therapist could help me. My car is sold, and I am no longer a potential murderer with an automobile as an assault weapon. I can spend my remaining years summoning Lyft or Uber with a touch of a finger. And I am finding “It’s not the end of the world” an agreeable motto.


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