Friday Night Tail Lights

I have to drive to Monterey this evening---a journey of around two hours---and I woke up this morning thinking "I have to drive to Monterey this evening" like other people think "I'm getting a double root canal this evening. With no anaesthetic. Performed by Dick Cheney in a gorilla mask. With Paris Hilton as the dental technician."

I think we all remember my fear of driving, right? The sad news is that I wrote that post a little over a year ago and the situation has pretty much only got worse since then. Sure, I'll drive it my life absolutely depends on it---like when I went to Orlando for work earlier this year and had to visit approximately 62562 hotels in forty-eight hours---but I never, ever, ever choose to drive.

And it wasn't always so: in Charleston, I drove everywhere! But San Francisco barely necessitates driving, and when it does, its combinations of steep hills, crazy cabbies, and the fact that I drive a stick shift---which is ridiculous, since I've been driving a stick shift for eight years, so it's not like I don't know what I'm doing or anything---all conspire to turn me into some shy retiring little thing who's petrified of getting behind the wheel.

It's stupid, I know it is. People drive everywhere, every day. I myself have driven a Budget moving fan and various U-Hauls all the way across the country. I used to love driving! But it seems that I now have this mental block that I can't move past, although every time I do drive, I end up going "god, that was fine, what's my problem?" So apparently this is just going to be my Achilles Heel for the rest of my life, unless perhaps I look into some sort of hypnotherapy or something.

(That sounds a little dangerous, though, doesn't it? I mean, I know you wouldn't be hypnotized while you were driving, but somehow I can't separate the two in my mind: the "you are getting very, very sleepy" aspect of it and the "you are now getting on the highway at rush hour and trying to merge between two large eighteen-wheelers." Obviously, I have no idea how hypnotherapy works, so hypnotherapists, please do not berate me for my ignorance on this. In fact, maybe you could just email me with your number. Apparently I need you.)


In other news, my mum has been staying with us for the last two days, and this has kind of been akin to having a live-in housekeeper. Last night when I got in from work, there was a Shepherds Pie sitting in the oven and EVERY SINGLE GARMENT in my wardrobe had been washed. And not just washed, but washed and folded. "I'm so sorry I didn't iron everything," said my mother. To which I replied "iron? What's an iron?"

My mother also bought me my first wedding magazine the other day---it's starting! the madness!---and since then, Martha Stewart and I have been getting pretty cozy over table arrangements and boutonnieres. The fairly ridiculous thing is that Sean and I will periodically pause, look at each other, and go "we should go to the Maldives for our honeymoon! South Africa! Greece!" or "what about fireworks?" or "I've got the best idea ever: mini portions of chips wrapped in newspaper and served at midnight!"---that was mine, by the way, isn't it awesome?---and yet we have still got only the very vaguest and cursory notions know, a date. Or a place. Right now, we're thinking August or September of next year, but location is still fairly up in the air. Anyone got a castle we can borrow?


Thank you all so much for your kind words and condolences about Jessica. Today on the Window Seat blog, we're celebrating what a great writer she was by looking back at some of her best posts. Feel free to stop by and check it out.

Oct 24, 2008

I think the driving thing is really just about frequency. The less often you do it, the more paranoid you get about it. I find this in LOTS of areas of my life, like writing or playing derby. (I take two weeks off of derby and suddenly I see it the way other people see it: A REALLY TERRIBLE IDEA.) As time goes by, the issue gets built up in my mind and it gets harder to force myself to

Then I finally do, because I must, and I'm all surprised when it's not awful. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you ever live somewhere that DOES require more driving, I think you'll be surprised how quickly you get used to it again.

Oct 24, 2008

I can drive a stick as well but on HILLS?!?! Hills as big as SAN FRANCISCO?!?! I would freak the eff out. There is absolutely no way. Well, maybe if I was being chased by an axe wielding psycho killer...but I would only have to get partially up the hill and then it would perfectly okay if I let the car roll back into that person, whereas other people tend to get a little pissed about that happening.

Liberal Banana
Oct 24, 2008

I've been engaged now for two months and I still have absolutely NOTHING planned, so don't feel too bad! You've been engaged for like 10 minutes. Part of the reason I have done nothing is that we were on vacation for 3 of those 8 weeks (part of the time in GREECE, are you jealous?), but mostly it's because the traditional wedding planning thing is so not my...thing. The idea of booking a venue, a caterer, renting a tent (if necessary, because most castles, you will find, do not allow you to dine inside their beautiful castley-ness), tables, chairs, decorating, and on and on. It's enough to make someone run off to Vegas. Or stall on planning while trying to come up with some sort of non-traditional, cool wedding celebration that doesn't cost, oh, ten-freakin-thousand dollars. If you figure out how to do THAT, please do share.

Oct 24, 2008

Ohhhh, I hope your drive goes well, nothing like a little phobia to keep people from doing things, right? For me, it's flying... but since I don't actually pilot the plane I just sit in my seat and watch the flight attendant's faces during turbulence while white-knuckling the arm rests. If they don't look freaked out, then I avoid breathing into a paper bag. One time, though? One time they all looked freaked out. I screamed on the inside. :)
House of Jules

Oct 24, 2008

You should go on a river cruise in India on a house boat for your honeymoon. Those things come with a personal chef, don't you know?

Oct 24, 2008

I have issues with driving too but driving a stick shift in SF? Holy crap, woman! Never ever ever could I envision doing that! Good for you!

Amy S
Oct 24, 2008

Holly, have you gotten the Hanky Panky underwear I had mentioned for your Best Thing Ever? Anyway, congrats on the engagement. Please remember to not get swept away with bride madness. I have had friends spend tons of money thinking that is what makes the wedding. The two greatest/favorite weddings I have ever been to were both low key with no frills....and all about the couple. Don't let the bride business brainwash you :) Take care!

Oct 24, 2008

Driving in general I'm OK with, as I live in Los Angeles and have no choice. But FREEWAYS are another matter entirely, and I know you'll have to be on a few to get to Monterey so I do understand your pain!

I don't personally have a castle you can borrow, but I'm getting married at one on March 10th. Conwy Castle in north Wales . . . CADW will let you use any of their properties for a wedding blessing for 100 pounds. Serious.

Oct 24, 2008

Let's hear it for visiting mothers, and safe Friday evening driving. If you freak out and panic completely for some reason and anywhere in the vicinity of Cupertino, I'll be glad to offer safe haven :-)

Also, this seems like a place that would be receptive to the most amazing wedding venue story I've ever heard. It took place in Germany a few months ago, inside a planetarium, where the stars were configured on one side the way they had been on the date of the bride's birth and the groom's on the other. The two sections of stars were then blended to become aligned the way they were on that evening of the marriage, and the couple said their vows by moonlight. It sounded altogether magical. Still gives me shivers to think about it, and I wasn't even there.

Your wedding will be magical no matter where or when it happens, and I *promise* the centerpieces and favors will be long-forgotten 40 years from now!

Jessica was lucky to have you for a friend, Holly. I'm sure she will be sadly missed in many lives.

Stay safe on the road, Kiddo!

Oct 24, 2008

Ahhh. The Maldives (here or here, omg the photo galleries!) were my first choice for honeymoon, but it was a little unfeasible back then. Instead, we went to Costa Rica. But ultimately, the point was not where we went, but who I was with.

It was heaven.

Oct 24, 2008

Ahh wedding planning. I've been engaged seemingly forever and I have a whole file of creative ideas (sparklers! vintage picnic baskets! bunches of sunflowers in milk glass! ) and still have yet to find an affordable place to wed in the Bay Area. :) Oh, and chips at midnight = obviously fantastic.

On another note, I'm so sorry about your friend. I went and read her posts and her passion is palpable. What a beautiful tribute.

Oct 24, 2008

Seeing as chips are my one weakness, I think your idea sounds amazing. Nothing better than a warm potato in newspaper, I always say.

Scottsdale Girl
Oct 24, 2008

People drive with their HORN in SF, hate that.


Oct 24, 2008

the sheer fact that you'd even ATTEMPT a stick shift in SF makes me adore you. whoa! you are far braver than i am. enjoy is lovely!

Oct 24, 2008

That is awesome but eh, I'm mostly joking about the castle. I really just want a little white clapboard church and a pretty backyard.

Oct 24, 2008

I totally get the driving thing - you just lose your nerve when you haven't done it in a while. I used to drive all the time in HS and college, and then after a year or so of living in NYC, started to fear it. After a few years, I just refused to do it. Then I moved to LA and HAD to drive, and, wouldn't you know it - it all came right back to me! I was timid at first but after a few weeks/months I began to get aggressive again and am now as confident as any driver.

Oct 24, 2008

If you hate driving over the hill (which, as someone who has to do if a lot since I live there and work in Silicon Valley) I advise you do it very early in the afternoon, not the evening OR you drive it tomorrow morning. Fewer cars, fewer idiots on the road thinking that Highway 17 (or Highway 1) us the Autobahn. I feel the same way when I have to drive in San Francisco, a place that I am not very used to. You'll be OK.

There are some beautiful places in Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey for a September wedding and I wish, so much, that I had a castle that I could loan you!

I think I'd like to borrow your mother for a week though, please. Maybe in exchange for a castle? :-)

Have a good weekend Holly.

Oct 24, 2008

My husband and i lived in Korea for a year and a half, where we never drove anywhere. We didn't even have a car.

By the time we got back, i had a definite mind block against driving. I couldn't bear to even think about driving anywhere. Within about two months, though, i was fine. Totally back in the saddle.

Someday, when you live somewhere where you need to drive, you'll get used to it again.

Oct 24, 2008

Holly, if you want a West Coast venue, here's a place in Sausalito overlooking the bay that is just beautiful: Friends were married at that little church many years ago and it was really lovely.

Oct 24, 2008

If I lived in SF I would never, ever drive. There aren't so many hills in my neck of the woods, but back when I drove a stick shift I was eternally terrified of having to stop while headed uphill.

I love Monterey, though. It's north enough to have weather, but not north enough to be either San Francisco or pot growing country.

Mmmm, Shepherd's Pie. Do you have a recipe? Or maybe you posted one in the past, and I have early Alzheimer's? Because I'll bet your mom's really rocks the house.

Oct 25, 2008

Omg, Holly. I am so there with you, except on a totally different coast. (DC) I grew up driving, brought my car here, loved to drive ... and then I sold it since I lived and worked downtown and it wasn't worth the expense. And now, about 7 years later, I am utterly petrified when I have to get behind the wheel of a car (my husband's, these days) - which I do about 2x a year. What's worse, is I am now a godawful passenger as well - I tend to shriek regularly because I think death is imminent. My husband adores this quality, as you might imagine. More than one person has told me I should see a shrink, but that just seems so ... self-indulgent. I mean, I should be able to drive, right? It's not like I had an awful accident or anything. So basically I have no constructive comments but a lot of sympathy. If you do fix yourself, though, PLEASE GOD let me know how you did it!

On the wedding front - girlfriend, you're in Northern Cali! Some of the most beautiful weddings I've ever seen have been in vineyards. We got married in a destination wedding in the Caribbean and loved every second, but if I had been as close to Mecca (I love Napa endlessly) as you are, I would have done it there in a heartbeat. Oh, and we did South Africa for our honeymoon. BEST. EVER. One week in Capetown and wine country and one week on safari. (Although the political situation was more stable then.)

Wow, possibly longest and most rambling comment ever ...

rebecca faulkner
Oct 25, 2008

About Sonia's comment:

I road the houseboats in the Kerala backwaters. I agree, Holly! That would be a beautiful honeymoon! A big beautiful houseboat with a private staff all to yourself. They could cook you delicious south indian dishes from scratch, and you could dock the boat and explore the little towns along the water!

Oct 25, 2008

We got married on a beach in St. Maarten and it was truly AMAZING. Whatever you and Sean do - it to will be completely fantastic.

I say yes to Maldives for your honeymoon - what a trip that would be! What a about Africa for a safari?

And yes - the chips in newspaper at midnight is a fantastic idea.

Oct 25, 2008

Though not related to your post, I was browsing your Rome photos on Flicker and saw the picture of the nun holding the digital camera. I know what you mean about finding it amusing, as I was in Rome last October and saw a little old priest talking on a cellphone while snacking on a gelato cone. I have no idea why I thought it was so funny, but all afternoon I joked about how he must have God's direct line phone number.

Good luck on the wedding planning. Our wedding is in May and we're in the planning process too. Thank goodness for Martha Stewart, I'd be lost without her. And definitely go with chips at midnight, who doesn't love greasy food after a couple glasses of champagne?

Oct 26, 2008

We did Greece after not finding anything we liked in the city --

We ended up getting hitched on a tiny, house-sized island off the tip of santorini and still think it's the best decision we ever made. Good luck!

Jerri Ann
Oct 26, 2008

My mom never got a long really well when I was younger. I never dreamed I would love living less than 100 yards from her. But, I haven't done laundry in over 2 months, she watches the boys (on her own, we never ask because she does it so much it just don't feel right to ask), she cleans, she does it all, truly amazing and AWESOME!

Oct 26, 2008

Hi there! I've been following your site recently (blogstalking, but not sketchy) and love your writing. Congratulations on the engagement!

I echo the sentiments of pretty much every other comment here (have fun planning the wedding, driving in SF is scary/difficult) BUT I'm here about the hypnotherapy. Insomnia had plagued me for about 15 years and someone suggested it...and I'll be darned if it didn't work! Yes, I occasionally need to put on my sleep CD or do some brief meditations, but it's worth it. There's some "maintenance" involved but sleeping well (or, in your case - driving anxiety-free) is worth it. Check out Susan Bishop in Pacifica.

Oct 27, 2008

Ever think about getting married at a vineyard? Tres romantic.

- M

Oct 27, 2008

Hi Holly!
Im afraid I'm a lurker, one of those that regularly reads but rarely comments, but just to say that I love your blog and your writing! Anyway, I thought I couldn't possibly not comment here as I'm a professional hypnotherapist!

I definitely think hypnotherapy could help you to get over your anxiety surrounding driving and improve your driving experience. A good hypnotherapist will help you to learn relaxation techniques, ways of regaining control over your anxiety, increase your self-confidence and look at the reasons behind your anxiety. And don't worry, you certainly won't be hypnotised whilst behind the wheel! Hypnosis is an entirely natural state and nothing scary at all. Plus it's a really quick form of therapy so really useful for these sort of issues.

Unfortunately I'm in London UK, so a little far away to help directly, but if you have any questions I'd be happy to help.

Congratulations on your engagement too! :-)

Oct 27, 2008

Driving. I love driving. Now. In MY car.

I gave up my driving phobia for a phone phobia. It scares me to talk on the phone. Or worse! To wait for the phone to ring. Most of the time, I don't even answer it. At least you have public transportation (or others to drive you). At least I have text messaging!!! :)

Oct 28, 2008

I actually am hating driving more and more these days, I turn into an old lady at 31. I think it is from living in a city where I don't have to drive a lot.

Which is my segue into the fact I'm driving 7 hours up to Minneapolis this weekend.

At least all the calories consumed on road trips don't count! (They DON'T!)