#ColgateProblems: Riding Shotgun

When you don’t have your drivers license. It’s more of a sidewalk. And that’s ok.

When you don’t have your drivers license. It’s more of a sidewalk. And that’s ok.

This past weekend, my roommate and I went on a two-hour road trip not dissimilar from the groundbreaking cinematic work that is Britney Spears’ Crossroads. As far as road trips go, it was an overall success, despite the fact that we missed an exit and had to take a 30-mile detour in the wrong direction. Even in these moments of near catastrophe, morale was high. Colgate is all good and well, but small town life can feel constricting, particularly for the city mouse in us. It was freeing to see the world outside of Hamilton, NY, even if it was mostly

Interstate 90.

As a self-proclaimed city kid, I never had that liberating moment sophomore year of high school when I finally got my driver’s license and proceeded to cruise around the residential suburb streets blasting the rap stylings of the moment. If I did, I would’ve chosen “6 Foot 7 Foot (Explicit) ft. Cory Gunz” from Lil Wayne’s eponymously named album “Tha Carter IV.” Instead, I took Driver’s Ed senior year as per my parents’ request to fashion me into some kind of fully functioning adult. My friend Kevin and I, in cruel testament to our non-motorized mobility, rode our bikes to Central Driving Academy after school on Tuesdays. It made me feel anything but liberated and adult-like, and instead more like a 1950s kid with a paper route.

Carlos, our kind but socially awkward teacher, thought we would make the high school freshmen in the normal-sized class uncomfortable due to our age and tangible maturity, so he made the lessons private and thus weirdly intimate. Despite these hurdles, I passed my written test June of my senior year of high school and earned my learner’s permit. It never left my desk and has since expired.

When I mention that I don’t have my driver’s license, my proclamation is received with various states of shock dependent on which suburb my interlocutor is from. As a loyal supporter of the Chicago Transit Authority as well as someone who enjoys long walks on the beach, I never felt hindered by my inability to be seen rollin, patrollin’ and caught ridin’ dirty. Not until experiencing the remoteness of Colgate’s campus did I fully understand the need to do so. Suddenly, I find myself wishing that my music so loud I’m swangin’ – driving allows for a certain independence that is hard to achieve on foot.

My goal is to get my driver’s license by the time I graduate, but I’m not sure that’ll be the case. Last time I drove (with my mom in the passenger seat), I almost hit a mailbox and decided to call it a day due to self-diagnosed “highway hypnosis.” My repeated use of Driver’s Ed terminology is starting to really irritate the people who most frequently drive me around, so, if you need to find me I’ll probably be on the cruiser listening to my playlist titled “Songs for driving if I had my license.” Feel free to offer a ride.