RECORD STORE TALES #1030: License to Drive
I was re-watching Mike and Bob’s Cross Kitchener Adventure the other day. This old film that we made in highschool chronicled an afternoon of touring Kitchener in Bob’s car. (Haven’t seen it? Check it out.) One thing that came up, repeatedly, was the fact that I didn’t have a driver’s license. I was 18 years old with no license. Bob teased me pretty hard about that.
I had no incentive to learn to drive. Much like today, I didn’t really go anywhere! Everything I wanted (except Sam the Record Man) was with walking distance. (And I walked downtown to Sam’s once!) School was a 10-15 minute walk. The mall was 10 minutes. The only incentive I really had was for Bob to stop teasing!
I can remember when I turned 16, my mom paid for driving lessons through the highschool. I never went. Why?
The truth is, I was scared of driving.
I remember having a dream one night that I owned K.I.T.T., Knight Rider’s car, a high-tech modified Trans-Am. But in my dream I didn’t know how to drive either, so the car went into reverse out the driveway and hit somebody. It was a really realistic dream. I had another dream where I literally killed someone!
When driving classes started at school, I skipped (or “bagged” as the slang of the day went). I had a lot of anxiety about it. I had no idea what classroom it was in, so it was pretty easy to avoid. My mom was pretty unhappy with me when she found out. Which was long after the fact.
Getting in shit and getting teased didn’t change anything, but in the fall of 1991, I had to make a choice. I had just started university up in Waterloo. My choices were these: 1) Learn to drive, get a license, and drive yourself to school in dad’s old car. 2) Take the bus.
I chose 1). Busses were a far worse option! So I sucked it up and got lessons, and learned to drive. And like anything else at that age, I became a know it all!
I barely passed my driver’s test. The tester thought I was too hesitant at the lights. I was really good at parallel parking though!
What I learned first and foremost however, was how awesome it was to have 100% say in the music selection!
I wish I could tell you for certain what album I played on my first solo drive. I do know that I got my license in November of ’91 and focused on new releases during my first year as a driver. The new Tesla, Europe, Poison (double live), Queensryche (single live), and Guns N’ Roses tapes were often in the deck. I put them on my dashboard like a “now playing” sign to show off how cool I was.
I had night classes twice a week. Sociology on Mondays from 7:00 – 10:00 pm, and Anthropology the same time on Thursdays. I loved Anthro; didn’t care much for Soc. The best thing about Sociology was meeting my pal Rob Vuckovich for the first time. We talked about music a lot and became friends. He told me of his incredible record collection that he refused to part with. He would tape a track or two for me, but would not sell a single record. Later on, when he decided to sell, he would only do so if I bought the entire collection. Which I could not. But he was a good guy. He didn’t live far from me, so I drove him home after school.
I thought I would impress him by playing my newest acquisition from Columbia House: Purple’s Perfect Strangers, featuring non-LP bonus track “Not Responsible”. He was only mildly impressed. He said something about how it was better than Bon Jovi or Poison. Driving Rob home was something I looked forward to and I always chose the Monday night music specifically for him — to get some kind of reaction, positive or negative.
It’s funny how much I avoided driving until I absolutely had no choice. My parents complained that I always left the stereo on reaaaaaally loud, but that’s just how I made the drive worthwhile!