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March 22nd, 2016

Update: I can still drive

"Driving so that I can be sure I can still drive" is a good idea, apparently. I haven't gone on many extended trips lately, mainly just quick grocery runs. (Remember: most accidents happen within 10 miles of home because most of your driving happens within 10 miles of your home. Statistics don't always tell the whole story. But digress, I do...) I'm not really at risk of driving so little that my skills — AT DRIVING STICK-SHIFT, I can remind you — would atrophy away. It's like riding a log, or falling off a bicycle...wait...

Anyway. Guess what I did?

No, I didn't get beyond 10 miles...wait again — *checks map app* — I take that back, I went 15 miles on one leg. After lunch (a good pork, grits, and poached eggs plate at City State Diner, my first time there), I got as far west as NE 24th when I decided to head east. Sandy Blvd., which no longer has traffic like this...



...and I-84 (though I missed the exit for the freeway and had to zigzag on and near NE 122nd in order to turn around) got me as far east as Troutdale, where things turns rural and dominated-by-interstate really quickly. I toyed for about two seconds with going as far as, say, Multnomah Falls, but decided that was a little too ambitious for my afternoon. I didn't return via I-84, either, because in my experience from when I lived in Northeastern Oregon and would drive back to Portland for family events, I-84 westbound from Troutdale to I-205 is where drivers go nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuts. I'd rather avoid that, please and thank-you. Instead I got onto Marine Dr. — past the Troutdale airport, the airport the makers of Leverage filmed when they needed an actual airport with a runway and hangers and planes — and wound around near PDX before heading home. You have to be on your driving game there; lot of traffic, near-freeway speeds on a two-lane road with little green area between Marine Dr. and the mighty Columbia River, and always the chance of bad drivers. Goal: NOT TO BE A BAD DRIVER.

I'm, at best, an OK driver. I accept that. I drove OK. And either made deadpan comments towards bad drivers ("Nice signal," I say when someone doesn't) or yelled towards really bad drivers. (I've been known, more than once, to yell "Are you trying to get killed?" But from inside the car so the person I'm yelling towards never hears.) The weather gave me a little variety to drive through, from cloudy to drizzly — nothing too dramatic. No problem getting home.

And since I read this John Scalzi blog on self-driving cars, I am well aware that I personally am NOT ready to be comfortable in a self-driving car. So keep being OK at driving! Good goal.