I moved to Chicago from Michigan in the fall of 1994. At some point in the first weeks following the move, I lost my driver’s license. To this day I have no earthly idea what could possibly have happened to it. It was not a good time for my ID to have gone missing. I had just gotten a new job and they really wanted me to present an ID so I could get the paperwork started. Being young and stupid and not knowing what else to do, I went downtown to the Secretary of State’s office and got a State ID. In hindsight I probably could have written or called the Michigan Secretary of State’s office and gotten a new ID sent to me, but it never occurred to me. I probably thought I’d have to go back to Michigan to get the new card, and I didn’t have the means to make that happen.

So, I was no longer legally able to drive. In the nearly two decades since then, I have driven a car on a couple of occasions. Never very far or for very long. I have not needed to drive since I sold my last car in 1994. But there have been dozens of occasions where my lack of a driver’s license has been an inconvenience. On road trips to visit family, my wife has always had to drive, and while she’s never complained, I’m sure she wishes I could have taken the wheel once in a while. And then, last spring, it became necessary for the director on a film shoot I worked on to adjust some shots because I didn’t have a license and as a result they couldn’t get insurance for me to drive in the movie. It was embarrassing.

For years I’ve made resolutions to get the whole pesky driver’s license issue taken care of. The big road block was the need of a car – in order to take the driving test, I’d need to bring a car, which I did not have. And I didn’t have the nerve to borrow a car from a friend. Once, my mother-in-law came in on a Saturday so we could try to get it done, but it didn’t work out.

I don’t know what changed, but I finally got the nerve to ask a buddy if I could use his car for the test. He was, of course, totally cool with it, and we coordinated schedules to pick the best day to make it happen. A couple days ago I stopped by the Secretary of State’s office to take the written test, and this morning my friend picked me up for the road test.

I did not know how much it was weighing on me until I walked out of there with my new driver’s license. Sure, my picture looks like a mugshot, but I don’t care. I am once again, after nineteen years, licensed to drive a car.

So who’s up for a road trip?