The ‘Last Thing’

What if I just stop driving?

1–2–3-? Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

For every high and low in life, there is what I call, “The Last Thing.”

It is the pesky little minutiae that gets in the way of enjoyment, moving forward.

You can’t do much of anything until it’s dealt with, and usually, it’s a blindsiding Pandora’s Box of pain-in-the-ass setbacks waiting to happen.

Nobody thinks of the plastic containers or that one last palette of canned tomato sauce you think you don’t really need, because now, after everything important’s been packed up and loaded, you don’t have any more room in your major move, which starts now. You’re already two hours behind, and a hotel check-in halfway across the state is waiting.

But you wind up needing those useless things for things called “Keto Chili” and storage your first day in town, so you bravely try to make room. Trying to fit them winds up setting you back even more, and causes you to drop one of the loose cans in one of the loose plastic wrappings, which then causes you to chase the rolling can down the street and trip, and break your ankle and then you’re in the hospital for a week, because the doctors also found a suspicious lump.

The Last Thing is what will either save us as a humanity, or do us in.

My current Last Thing is getting my Idaho driver’s license.

I haven’t been in the DMV since getting my real Washington state driver’s license before the COVID-19 pandemic (Nov.). I haven’t taken a written test since moving to Seattle in the mid-’90s. I haven’t taken the dreaded skills test since high school (1981) — please don’t make me parallel-park!, when I barely passed. (I would’ve failed my first try if my mom didn’t know the Pearl City cop who administered the test; he was a regular at the bar she worked at.)

When I applied for and received the real ID driver’s license, I barely passed the visual exam. With my new pair of glasses on.

The Fear Factor is real now.

All this week and the next, I plan to study the Idaho Driver’s Manual like my life depends on it. It’ll be 1983 all over again, with me cramming for finals at school.

The manual is thick, 147 pages long. Filled with governmental minutiae.

Nowhere in this manual does it tell you where the actual written questions will come from. You have to kind of intelligently guess from memory.

But knowing me, I’m memorizing EVERYTHING.

I can control, sort of, the written portion of the test, provided my memory serves me right (and even that’s questionable). I can’t control the visual exam.

Another fun consideration: I’m the only one in my family of three with extra paperwork to bring to prove I’m not illegal. I was born abroad, in South Korea somewhere, adopted by my father or he passed me off as his own. I have the papers to prove it. I have to bring those, as well as my marriage certificate, because I’m no longer a Banks but a Weber.

We have 90 days to apply for a driver’s license exchange. No way in hell am I leaving it to the last minute.

Why do I care?

The driving test.

You also know there’s no chance in hell I’m passing that again.

Wish me luck.

Catastrophizing with Carol


I’m already fucked…

Morbid sidebar for me and my OC-D friends: I considered saying, Fuck driving. I hate driving anyway. It makes me claustrophobic. You don’t want my distracted ass on the roads, either. But then I thought of how long I could get away with getting my son or my husband to chauffeur me around. My son is moving back to Seattle, so that option’s shot to shit. I’d HAVE to be deathly ill and then die first, of course, to dispense with having to unlawfully drive my husband to and from the hospital and then the morgue. Knowing my luck, I’ll be the last one standing, my beloved Ford Escape (an automatic) will give up the ghost, thus forcing me to remember how to drive my husband’s stick shift without blowing out the gears on nothing but San Francisco-high hills…

Originally published at on March 28, 2021.

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