DRY RICE ON THE FLOOR
By: Lauren Anderson
My older sister is an excellent driver.
She was that classic teenager that went and took her driving test on her 16th birthday and passed on the first try. And it didn’t take long before she had her own car, much to our mom’s trepidation.
There was no, “Can I borrow the car?” from my sister. Oh no no. Besides, my mom drove an automatic Toyota Camry at the time, and that just wasn’t gonna cut it for Marnna.
Instead, she had my Dad (an unapologetic motor-head and excellent driver himself) help her shop for and buy her first car. Wait for it… a kickass 800 dollar Mustang.
Of course Marnna’s first car was a Mustang. And of course it was a stick shift. In my memory it was red, but to be honest it could’ve been any color. I was blinded by the coolness of it all.
I remember my Mom just kind of resigning herself to the idea. I mean, Marnna had saved up her money and she had her license. And I even remember my mom saying, “Your sister really is a great driver.” But that thing that lives inside parents and makes moms worry just couldn’t be quelled.
But instead of worrying about her daughter getting into accidents, or being distracted, I think Mom’s worry was Marnna would get into that car, start driving, and never look back.
Which in a way, is exactly what happened. That Mustang was freedom.
And now that I’m older, I can imagine what a feeling that might be for a parent. On the one hand, you must feel proud. Your kids are growing up and making their own way in the world. And another part of you must ache, for the time that passed too quickly, and the letting go.
Knowing from your own experience how much bigger the world gets after you’re mobile.
* * *
Years later, when it was time for me to turn 16 and get my license… I dragged my feet. I didn’t rush out on my birthday and get my license. Oh no no. I didn’t see the point.
I mean, I had a bunch of older friends with cars, my boyfriend(s) could drive, and my BFF Peggy had her own car– and since we were virtually inseparable– I was set up.
And to be honest, I was perfectly content being driven around from party to party without a care in the world. I mean, that’s the life right?
I didn’t even get serious about taking my driving test until I turned 18. Because I didn’t need to, until college was looming. And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it took me three attempts to pass. THREE TIMES.
I aced the written portion all three times. I mean, I get rules and I was a good student. It might also surprise you to know I have an excellent sense of direction. I think it’s because I have a good memory and notice details. Like an elephant matriarch leading her herd to water, when I’ve been someplace once, I usually remember how to get there again.
But when it came to test behind the wheel… well, it just didn’t come naturally. I had a fear of failing. I knew the consequences. And it just seemed like such a big responsibility to operate a two-ton machine that could propel itself at speeds faster than 60 mph.
My Dad was hilarious about it. I could tell he wanted me to be able to drive well, but I could tell I made him nervous. My mom couldn’t even drive with me at all, because I would either go too fast or too slow. But in my defense, the air she sucked between her teeth every time I stopped at a stoplight was enough to drive anyone to distraction.
Honestly, I think they were relieved when I finally passed my test, because that meant they could worry about me from the safety of their own homes, and not inside the car with me.
I am not above admitting that there was a learning curve. I didn’t get into any accidents, but there were a few years where I was not very good behind the wheel. You’ll be happy to know that I don’t get nearly as many speeding tickets as I used to…
I think years of practice and improv, actually, have made me a safe-ish driver nowadays. Practice, cause duh, that never hurts right? And improv because it taught me to be alert and vigilant, and react quickly.
It makes my giggle writing this, because now that we’re older, Marnna and I are a lot more a like. But when we were younger, we were about as different as two sisters could get.
She wanted her license and her own car so she could go wherever she wanted, whenever she wanted. I didn’t see the point of getting my own car, or even my license at the time, because I think I felt if my friends weren’t gonna be there, what was the point of showing up?
I’m different from this now, and I like spending time with myself. And there are countless errands and adult baloney that require getting myself from A to B alone. I’m a pretty independent person. But I think at my core, I’d still rather have company than not, and I still think, “The more the merrier.”
And if I’m being honest, if given the option, I think I would still rather be driven around.
* * *
So, why am I talking about driving? Well these last few weeks doing my Macro Challenge with Solcana have felt a lot like my sister and I when it comes to driving.
Some people in the challenge, like my sis with driving, were born to do this. They are meal-prepping and tracking macros and posting their results online with good questions and energy and even some MASTERY. The whole thing just seems to make so much sense to them.
Meanwhile I’m over here, trying to remember how to cook, and then remembering I don’t like to cook. And feeling annoyed that I have to cook EVERYTHING. I keep asking myself if I remembered to track the pats of butter I used to saute that chicken breast? Or if that even counts? Then I get annoyed that I’m wrapped up in the minutia of a question about butter pats, and not using my big brain for better philosophical pursuits. Which is where I would prefer to take up brain space.
But I’m reminded of driving, because I also recognize the skill and the freedom learning to track my macros can bring me. If I can get the hang of this, imagine what I could unlock for my body and my overall health and relationship to food?! The sky is the limit!
But again, I’m reminded of driving, because this is NOT COMING NATURALLY TO ME. And I would much rather sit in the kitchen and keep the HERO that offered to cook for me company with witty banter and a cocktail than cook myself.
I’m on a serious learning curve, and I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone is good at everything. At least right away. And there are things that I can do easily, that others have to work at…
But even after reminding myself of all that, it still doesn’t make it any easier cleaning up a half cup of dry rice off the floor at two in the morning because I was trying (in vain) to get ahead of the curve and try to meal prep for the next day. And I just happened to knock the rice off the counter, because I didn’t want the sauce to burn…
But if you don’t mind, I think I might just lay down right here and take a minute before I sweep this up. Because I’m tired… and there’s still so much more to do. To learn. And even though there is a lot of help and support being offered to me along the way, I know in my heart of hearts, no one can get me there but myself…
Even though 9 times out of 10, I’d rather be driven. Sometimes I gotta learn to drive my damn self.
At least they don’t give tickets for wasted rice right?