I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 23. Laugh if you want, but between crazy schedules, family tempers, and going to college out of state, it just never happened.
I like to think of it as delaying the size of my carbon footprint. I could never go anywhere by myself, so no pollution for me!
But then the day came when I was twenty-three. A newly married woman with a driver’s license to call my own, and I ran out of milk. I had been to the nearby store before. It was close by. I knew how to get there. So, I took the keys and went. After a tiny bit of trouble parking, I triumphantly walked to the milk section. But there were hundreds of different kinds of milk!
Okay, maybe not hundreds, but there were an unnecessary number of choices! I had never been to the store alone, so I had never really looked at the milk. I had always just bought what my roommate or husband wanted. But there I was, alone in front of the cooler, left for the first time to make my own decision.
I read a bunch of labels. But other than 2% and whole, and massively expensive organic and poor people milk, I didn’t really understand the differences other than purple for 2% or red for 2%. Why were there so many options? And I didn’t really know what 2% versus whole milk tasted like. I had always just had whatever was on hand.
Finally, panicking, I called my college roommate, crying, to ask what kind of milk I drank. She told me what kind to get and calmed me down enough to drive home.
I would love to say that the great milk incident formed a new kind of determination in me to understand my choices and be more independent and deliberate as a human.
But it didn’t. Going to the grocery store is still my version of a panic-ridden hell. And quite frankly, all milk tastes the same to me. Except chocolate. If I am forced to choose milk, I always choose chocolate.