I cannot drive. There. I have publicly announced this fact. I, Patti A. Hagadorn, cannot drive.
Car keys do not jingle in my purse, nor do they twirl on my index finger.
People have always said, “Be thankful! Traffic is murder!” or “Isn’t it great to feel rich and have a personal chauffer?” The answer is no!
As a teen, a drunken driver ran a red light, and I was left with a nifty seizure disorder. My dreams of driving were put on hold because my seizures were not under control. It never really was controlled until my 30s.
As soon as Dr. Juergans said, “OK, Patti, you can get your learner’s permit,” I got the book and, gee wilikers, did I study! I knew weights. I knew speed limits. I knew braking distances.
Feeling prepared, I had my husband Jim take me to the local BMV. A very nice lady handed me the test and said to have a seat and get started. I whizzed through. I came to a hard part, but after giving it some thought, I checked what I thought were the correct boxes. I took my test to the nice lady and she started shaking her head and making red X’s.
The very nice lady said, “Ma’am, I am sorry but you did not know the signs by their shapes. It is automatically a failure.”
I looked at the very nice lady and said, “I am literate. I can read them!”
“Doesn’t matter! Weather in Indiana can obscure signs very quickly,” she quipped.
I looked at her and said, “Lady, if there is that much snow on the ground, no one is going to be driving!” The very nice lady escorted me to the door.
I never got the courage to go back. Now I have a diagnosis of dementia, so driving is a no-no.
My husband is an umpire, and he also takes care of a local softball diamond. Part of his duties includes dragging the diamond with a very small tractor. He knew how badly I still wanted to drive. As a surprise one day, he asked if I wanted to drive the tractor. He would be by my side at all times. Keep the throttle low and never ever go past first gear. He led me in a circle as if I was a kid on a pony ride. I didn’t care. I was driving. Never mind the fact that I was going one mile a day.
I still go to the ball diamond with Jim on Wednesdays, wishing and hoping that someday I will be able to mount my mighty hog again, pull out the throttle, find an open gate and once again feel the wind blow through my hair.
If a Wednesday night rolls around and you see a little old lady riding down Fairfield Avenue on a red tractor with a huge grin on her face, oblivious to her surroundings, pull over. Her husband, Jim, will be franticly chasing her in a silver Intrepid.