It’s 7:37 on a Tuesday night. I’m typing furiously in a brightly lit library cubicle while attempting to ignore a formidable craving for Annie’s Aged White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. You may be wondering, “But Eve, why can’t you journey home for this warm, carbohydrate-dense meal that you so desire?” Well, at the ripe old age of 17 years, six months, and three days, I have not yet learned to maneuver an automobile.

I planned on earning my learner’s permit on the very day that I turned 16; I have not returned to the linoleum-floored, claustrophobia-inducing Department of Motor Vehicles since that fated April afternoon. After failing to provide my social security card during registration, I reasoned I’d come back in the following week with an even better memorization of road signs and booster seat safety requirements. These weeks devolved into months. Soon enough, all of my friends obtained their own rites of passage in the form of blue-hued plastic cards, each emblazoned with an overexposed (but nonetheless eager) smiling face. Each of them gushed over the liberation that this newfound ability yielded as dinner plans, day trips to Compo Beach, and late-night ice cream runs, all without the need for parental carpooling, gained sudden spontaneity. They even discussed the supposedly mundane chore of filling a tank of gasoline, remarking that the transaction felt refreshingly mature. Exhilarated by such idyllic independence, close pals encouraged me to seek out driving instruction.These motivational words have since turned to pestering chides; some have even offered to register the date for my permit test as a Christmas gift.

In all honesty, I am content with my lack of driving. For starters, fear plays a role here: if my inadequate Mario Kart last-place rankings indicate anything in the real world, then I have absolutely no place behind the wheel of an actual car. Aside from the distrust in my own navigational abilities as fostered by Nintendo, I have no glaring need to become licensed. Ritualistic bus riding over the past 12 years has transformed the yellow box on wheels into a vessel of nostalgia. As my daily route picks up boisterous middle schoolers, I cannot help but grin in reminiscence of the giggles I shared with my neighbors in the same seats, years before.

Beyond this chance for personal reflection, not driving also affords me bountiful opportunities to spend time with the ones I love. Within the incessant chaos of work and school schedules, I can always guarantee that I’ll be granted at least 20 minutes of sustained, one-on-one conversation with my parents during daily car rides. In a time where extracurricular obligations render perfectly orchestrated family dinners unrealistic, I cling to any precious moment that I can spend with my mom and dad, especially in my final year at home. And when I’m not mooching off of my parents, rest assured that my friends will so graciously step in as chauffeurs! Luckily, my north Wilton residency means that I’m at least 15 minutes away from anywhere, thus allowing ample time for laughter and AUX cord seizure.

Still, I’m often stuck wishing that those windy backroads lasted even a minute longer for the sake of more jokes and memories to be made. Maybe I’ll get my license within the next year; maybe I won’t. Regardless, as anticipation mounts for extensive, perhaps turbulent change in my near future, remaining but a passenger in every car enables me to relax, feel the wind in my hair, and just enjoy the ride that lies ahead.


Eve Ogdon is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.