Six months ago – before my DUI – had you asked me what it feels like to not have a drivers license, I would have perhaps come up with a theoretical scenario. Three months ago, had you asked me the same question, I would have said, in fact I did say on this blog, that it stinks, but thankfully I at least had a business purpose only license to get to work.
I lost my DMV hearing last week. This week, on my birthday, a full drivers license suspension went into effect. This suspension will last a month. This means that for the last four days, I have been unable to drive for any purpose whatsoever. So what’s it like not having a drivers’ license at all? Well, it is absolutely deflating. You realize how much the driving privilege means. It is the most effective deterrent against drinking and driving besides jail-time.
Having said that, I have had a lot on my mind these past few days about the driving privilege:
- I have realized how little I knew the city I’ve lived in the past 11 months. Heck…how little I knew the intersection I’ve lived at. In scoping out the bus schedule, I found out there is a bus stop about half a mile from my apartment, and a bus stop a quarter mile from my office. And the bus service is a godsend for the times I have no other means to get to my office.
- The buses around here rarely run on time. And quite a few people are on the bus. Which raises the natural questions about what happens to people who rely on public transportation regularly, especially those that rely on it to get to work? Getting up three hours before work and getting to the station 2 hours before having to be at work doesn’t seem so abnormal anymore. That’s because you *must* take the early bus and chance getting to work early — because if the later bus runs behind schedule (as it inevitably does), you may lose your job. It’s just eye-opening — it’s hard for me, sure. But in a month, I will have my full license. Those that can’t afford a car have no other choice other than having to spend hours of their day working around the work schedule. I deserve this because I drank and drove. These other folks though…I feel for them.
- Lyft and Uber drivers are good people and they show up on time. Today, I used Lyft 4 times. To get to an support-group meeting, back from support-group meeting, to the MADD victim impact panel, and back from the impact panel. Sure it costs an arm and a leg, but getting across town would have been practically impossible without these ride-sharing services.
- You also find that people genuinely want to help you. You see, a coworker’s brother went through the same situation as me. And his brother’s license was suspended, too. So he understands what I am going through. And he has picked me up for work the past few days. It’s amazing.
The DUI has been a draining experience — mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But like everything else in life, I can only use this as a learning opportunity and always remember this time of my life so that I never drink again.
Up next: I’ll write about the Victim’s Impact Panel organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I went through it today and just want a night to sleep on it and digest the message.