Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Well, now I understand C’s feelings completely. Now I am 55 (or will be next month). And, at 55, I'm finding that traveling at speeds OVER 55 is causing me to break out in a sweat and hyperventilate and grip the steering wheel for dear life. Rain, even a gentle sprinkling, causes me to seriously rethink my planned outing on the road. Snow, ice--forget about it! It's really depressing.
And the hardest part, for me, is my new fear of driving at night. My eyesight has been on the decline for years. And then I went on a medication that "may cause blurred vision"--and, lo and behold, it does! Nevertheless, I could basically cope, could stay in the correct lane, could still see the traffic lights. But suddenly, now, I was Mr. Magoo. One memorable evening, en route to a meeting, I literally had to stop and get out of the car and go over to the street signs to read them, twice! I was, of course, late to the meeting. Worse, once there I could not concentrate on the doings of the Naval Academy Parents Club. I was far too busy dreading my return trip, with its attendant pauses to stop, stretch my legs and squint, wondering if the sign read "Moreland Road" or "Meadow Lane"--or something else entirely.
So I finally got glasses. End of problem, right? Well, not exactly. Nowadays, after dark, the oncoming headlights explode like starbursts before my eyes. The yellow lines still frequently disappear, making it a distinct challenge to keep to my side of the street . The road signs may now be tack-sharp, but what good does that do if I am drifting and distracted by the lightshow?
My world, it feels, is shrinking rapidly. No longer confident behind the wheel, I am losing confidence in general. I was never Danica Patrick but darn it, I was a pretty decent driver! Now, I envision a future of more and more limits—limits of speed and of distance, of venturing out, of independence. And it makes me sad.