Can I have a ride?

By Tala Alfoqaha

“Hey, could I have a ride?”

This one question has haunted my existence ever since sophomore year. One by one, like dominoes, my classmates began receiving the one object small enough to fit into their pocket yet significant enough to change their lives (and availability) forever. Meanwhile, I was just beginning to attend a driver’s education course 3 months after my 16th birthday at the discretion of my over cautious father. Now, I’m a 17 year old senior who still doesn’t have her license. And it sucks.

People over 16 don’t get their licenses for a variety of reasons–some find driving to be anxiety-inducing, some have parents who, for a variety of reasons ranging from cost to safety, don’t want them to drive quite yet (as is my case), and some simply don’t feel the need to (this group splits over the root of their indifference. Some people won’t have a car to drive, rendering a license worthless, while others simply take advantage of other modes of transportation.) As someone who feels utterly restricted without a license, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quite understand those who willingly choose to live without a license. That small piece of plastic is a bastion of freedom, independence, and ease-of-movement. Receiving a license means my plans would no longer be contingent on the availability of someone or something else, and I’d be able to do the one thing that has eluded me since the days of being dropped off by my parents: I’d be able to go somewhere alone.

Someday, I won’t have to feel the humiliation of asking for a ride, the anticipation of waiting for an answer, and the embarrassment of the Walk of Shame to and from the driver’s car. Someday, I’ll have my license. Until then, I’ll be searching for a ride.