The Life Autistic: Learning to Drive (or “Quit Planning, Start Doing”)


“Hey Hunter, we’re going to get your learner’s permit — now.”

And that’s how I learned to drive. The End.

Let me put this story in Reverse for a quick second.

During a trip from Iceland back to the US, my parents thought it’d be a good idea for me to study up for a driving test. I was 15, and the thought was that I’d eventually get around to needing a car, driving ability, all the essentials.

I wasn’t going to be able to do much once we got back to Iceland, but at least I could cram for when I returned to the states for college in a couple of years.

But nope. 

Either Mom got antsy, or there was some kind of discount being offered for learner’s permits, but with almost zero notice, I was hustled to Waynesboro, Virginia’s eight circle of Hell known as the DMV.

Yeah, there’s a more suspenseful story here, where I missed my maximum number of questions and had to guess my way through the last five, but lemme zoom out to the moral of the story:

I’ve done a lot by being pushed to do.

It goes against 95% of the very fibers of my autistic being. My careful planning. My hedging against risk. My detailed preparation. My manifold situational calculations.

Those skills have served me well, in interviews, tests, speeches — you name it. If I can plan it, I can (usually) ace it.

But that’s only if I get around to doing it.

The Life Autistic is a balancing act, where all that analysis leads to paralysis. My best laid plans were often just that: plans.

Getting over the anxiety to do is the toughest part of the plan.

And yeah, I prefer when I can pull that trigger myself.

But I know me. I’m not the quickest to act even in my own interest.

Sometimes it takes a “50% Learner’s Permits – TODAY ONLY” deal to drive it.



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