Tofino is my somewhere over the rainbow. Bliss, surrounded by waves and beaches and trees - I spent the best childhood vacations ever there. I haven't been back for nearly ten years, because I can't drive. And it's killing me.
Various mitigating factors kept me from this teenage rite of passage. A bad relationship with my mother. Then, a bad relationship. No car. No access to a car. No money for lessons, or a car. However, as I tweeted earlier today: Going for my "first" "driving lesson" today. This is sort of like my "first beer" at 19 - only I wasn't drinking when I was 7.
Dad taught me to drive when I was 23. We followed the same ritual he did with my brother: several summer evenings spent ripping around the parking lots of Park Royal Mall. After I had a handle on the basics, I graduated to the relatively safe streets of West Vancouver while Mum would walk the dog at Ambleside. Unfortunately though, after summer was over life got busy again and we never continued. Not long after, I left home again and the distance made organizing lessons unworkable. So I resigned myself once more to a lifetime sentence of the loser cruiser.
Ambiguous disclosure: I've driven since, here and there. When I turned 30, that sinking feeling returned that I was missing out on vehicular freedom. So after discussion with my Mum and Dad, they offered to help out for proper lessons with an accredited school - thereby reducing the Graduated Licensing sentence by six months. More procrastinating, and then I finally signed up for the course last month.
Today, I had my "first" driving lesson. The instructor was positive, accepting that I already had experience and open to building on that. Despite his being engaging and interesting, throughout the entire hour and a half I couldn't stop thinking about driving around West Van with Dad. By the end of it, I was tearing across Burrard Street bridge, trying to hold my composure long enough to not put a total stranger in the awkward position of dealing with a very sad and broken me. Haven't cried that hard since the night I realized Dad was going to die.
I'm looking forward to driving to Tofino next summer. I plan on spending several weeks there, if I can afford it. Hiking, surfing, swimming, beach combing, camping.
Thanks Dad, for teaching me how to get there.