Monday, December 24, 2012

I am not 16

"I tried to dance Britney Spears./ I guess I'm getting on in years." - Rufus Wainwright.

So I'm officially too old for Facebook. This was bound to be the case, as I was the right age for it when it was new. So far, in the past few lazy vacation days, I've tried and failed to categorize my various "friends" as those who would and would not be interested in my updates (quite possibly posting updates only to high school acquaintances and people I met once at a party eight years ago); "liked" a video someone had posted that I had clicked on (forgive me, gods of anti-procrastination, but it's December 24th and last-and-final chapter is in another window - if you are my friend on Facebook and you're posting videos this week, damn straight I'm watching them*) but not, as far as I could tell, "liked"; and attempted to narrate the pasta I'd consumed that day by referring to having had pasta lunch after pasta dinner, which, despite the fact that I do eat a lot of pasta, wasn't the order I meant. If you want to communicate with me socially, try parchment and quill. It's simply beyond my capacity to use that site.

Or maybe it's not, but the part of my brain that should be dealing with everyday, unimportant things like social media is entirely taken up by one dominant fear: failing yet another road test. I keep telling myself that I took the first two (years ago, in NYC) before actually knowing how to drive, that I now absolutely know how to drive, have been driving my (patient and courageous) husband around for months, have successfully parallel parked on so many occasions. But it's like the qualifying exam all over again - the more I prepare, the more panicked I am at 4am. I just picture that loop at the DMV and imagine somehow being the person I was before June, the one who felt as if on a roller coaster whenever driving at more than 15mph. I picture myself incapable of staying in a lane (yet just yesterday, I was just fine on an Interstate!), missing the one and only stop sign, incapable of left or right turns, unable to figure out where or how to turn my head to show the examiner that I'm a careful driver. I envision myself screwing up the parallel parking such that I knock over all four cones. Messing up the three-point turn, the one item on the menu I've never had any problems with. Every possible thing goes wrong, as if I'd never been in a car before even as a passenger. Oh, and I of course forget to signal when leaving the spot at the beginning of the test. That's always part of it.

The panic, though, is always followed by this sense that if I could only take the test right now (futile at 4am), I'd do fine, because I have everything so perfectly memorized, and am just on. If it's anything like the qualifying exam, I tell myself, I'll do extra well for having been so concerned. But then I remember that the driving exam has zilch to do with memorizing the plots of various French novels, nor - alas - with providing the first glimpse of an emerging dissertation topic. It's on driving, which just seems so terribly unfair.

*Which is also how I discovered "Portlandia." For admittedly particular reasons, I still can't get over the "Einstein turned out to be a man" bit here.

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