My Greatest Fear #53: Driving Without a License

A few days ago I accepted a short-notice dinner invitation (Vietnamese food–how could I say no?) with a former coworker at 5:30 in the evening. The only conflict was that I had a teleconference at 5:00, so the call would likely begin while I was home and continue while I drove to the restaurant.

That’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately, because of my preoccupation when I was leaving the house, I forgot to put my wallet in my pocket, which occurred to me when I was already halfway to the restaurant.

I panicked. It felt like a part of my body was missing. I was exposed to the world.

Though I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket, on the rare occasions when I’ve forgotten my license, I become intensely paranoid that everything that can go wrong on the road will go wrong:

  • The police will pull me over due to something minor that will quickly escalate and result in me getting deported.
  • I’ll get in an accident (another first for me), and–unable to present an ID–will be forced to desert my car and make a living on the streets.
  • I’ll be approached by federal agents to testify about a drug deal that happened while I was driving past, but without my license, they’ll confuse me with the drug dealer and make me wear a wire into a meeting with the local mafia. Eventually I’ll work my way up the ranks of the organization and have to choose between the bright lights and the cold, hard truth.

All of these scenarios ran through my head as I drove to and from the restaurant. It was a beautiful day with low-key traffic, but it was one of the scariest drives of my life.

Have you ever done this? I have a similar reaction when I accidentally leave my cell phone at home.