At age 43, I have been officially licensed by the state of Wisconsin to drive a car.

Everyone is full of happiness and congratulations for me, promising me new freedoms and – new freedoms. That I can’t even imagine how much life has changed. Etc.

I suspect that will all be true once I get used to the idea; maybe no one will ever see me again as I drive my way around the world.

But what I do know is that I have now increased my carbon footprint – which I’d already done once simply by moving to the midwest from NYC, and which I offset by becoming an ‘eat lower on the food chain atarian‘ (which means vegetarian, except on holidays or other rare occasions when I feel like eating meat) – and now I have to come up with some other way to decrease my very American impact on the environment. If you have any ideas, let me know. We already keep a largely non-toxic home, use very little electricity, and walk to work.

Being a non-driver did allow me to meet & get to know some people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to know; some of you, at least, have heard the story of the lovely ride I took with two musician friends out to a gig on a cold Wisconsin night, through some beautiful, serene farmland, which gave me the idea, at least, that I might find a way to fit in socially here, at long last. The idea didn’t become much of a reality, but still, it was a cold drive that warmed my heart some, and will probably remain one of my best memories of my time in Wisconsin.

Being a driver makes me feel a little less a NYer, and a lot more of an American; a little less individual, and a lot more like everyone else, which is not, exactly, the most comfortable place in the world for me.

Still, it means I can drive myself to physical therapy, which will mean in turn, I hope, that I will be able to get back on my bicycle.

And you know, get my dry cleaning done without having to bug my already too busy spouse.

Change is good, they say. Change is, rather. And this is a big one.