Sunday, November 26, 2006

Limited Freedom

I remember getting my driver's license for the first time and my first car.
I got a job and had spending money.

I was on my way to Independence.

I hung out with other deaf or hard-of-hearing friends. We went to Deaf Clubs in the area. We had a good time. Sometimes I was the driver. There weren't many who had their own cars. Some couldn't afford it.

I lost touch with a lot of them. They moved. They got married and started families. I hardly talk to any deaf or hard-of-hearing people except for my brother and sister and online deaf-blind friends.

I was always punctual for work and appointments (unless I misunderstood the time or showed up on the wrong day) or it just temporarily slipped my mind. Yes, that was embarrassing. I always write down the appointments on the calendar. I don't trust myself to remember them.

I voluntarily and reluctantly gave up driving earlier this summer. It was hard to give up my independence. I got depressed. It wasn't too bad during the summer. I could walk to places. Then school started. I thought about dropping school. I didn't want to worry about transportation. I didn't want to depend on anyone. It sucked.

But I started using the taxi. It got easier. Only slightly. It still sucked. I felt like I wasn't being a responsible person. I couldn't drop off the kids to school or pick them up from school anymore. That was my job as a parent.

Anyway, I was so used to being punctual about getting to work. I used to arrive at work about 20-30 minutes early. That gave me some leeway in case there was slower traffic in my way.

When I started riding with several co-workers, I was lucky that they liked to get to work at least 20 minutes early . (This was when it got too dark to drive in the mornings.) I didn't have to panic or wait too long.

I have to wait for a taxi. Sometimes they are not as punctual. They have other people to pick up/drop off. I would have made an appointment one day early and they would still be late. I hate waiting around. I miss taking off and getting there myself. Or hopping into the car as soon as I am done with work or classes. This really sucks.

At the end of the first day of externship "work," the taxi was there at 5:00 sharp. Great. Then the next two days after externship-it was about 5:20 p.m. before the taxi showed up. I was upset. I don't like waiting. If I had called them (or someone else had called them for me) at quitting time, I would understand. First come, first serve. (Or in this case, first call, first serve.) I am a patient person and for the most part, I don't go around giving a taxi driver a hard time about being late. By the time the driver shows up, I am relieved and all thoughts of anger and impatience is gone.

It really is a huge bummer to depend on others to drive for me. I used to drive my mom to the stores. She never had a driver's license. My dad drove her around. Or it was one of us kids. It was hard to call her and tell her that I couldn't drive her to the store or take her to an appointment anymore. She knew this was coming, but not as soon. She has to rely on others now. Not only do I feel like I am shirking my duties as a parent to drive my kids around, but as a daughter, too.

I hate being a burden to my husband. He sold the other car. Auto insurance premiums have dropped slightly. So, it is easier on the wallet. (That is, until my oldest becomes 16-four years away.)

I will be glad when spring rolls around and it gets warmer out. Then I can do some serious walking-my last form of independence.

I have been doing a lot of pride swallowing and self-pitying these past few months. I still have "pity party" moments. Sometimes I snap out of them and push negative thoughts into a corner of my mind, ignoring them. I try to stay positive. At least I don't have a life-threatening disease. I may be able to retain central vision for a long time. Maybe this is God's way of keeping me humble and close to Him.

I try to keep these quotes in mind:

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."-James Baldwin

"The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us."-Voltaire


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