Hello, my name is Brendan Scott and it has been four months and eleven days since I last drove a car. Or as my students might say, “drived a car.” Before I left for Guatemala I didn’t know I was addicted to the open road; the high speed freedom of 70 mph and a full tank of gas. But I quit that high octane ride, cold turkey, for a much slower means of transportation. Walking.
Besides the morning ride on the micro (pronounced meek row) bus, which takes me to school. I walk everywhere. First I walk to the bus stop. Then I walk to the middle school building, which involves a nice flight of steps down a beautiful hill. Then I walk around my classes, while helping my students learn that it’s drove and not drived or loan me, not borrow me. I’m also trying to teach them that I wont let them barrow tissue paper, because I sure don’t want it back after they blow their noses in it. But the thing I hear the most while I’m walking around my class room is a simple question. My students constantly ask, “Can I go to the bathroom.” Frankly I don’t know if they can or not. I’m not their doctor, so I don’t know their medical history. I can’t tell what they can or cannot do. But if they really need to go I tell the they may go to the bathroom. It is fun having the power of permission. After school I ride the bus to the gym. At the gym I lift weights and run. Then I take a nice twenty to thirty minute walk home. On the walk home I pass three pinata shops, two other gyms, two hot dog stands, a beer factory, a park with a big star of David in the middle, and several hundred Guatemalans speeding by in their cars.
Seeing a car gives me the shakes. I want to drive rather badly. I know the benefits of walking everywhere. I feel healthier and I’ve probably saved a ton on gas, which is good because my stipend definitely couldn’t cover how much I was spending on gas before I left. I was so addicted to driving I was traveling from Denver to Boulder almost three times a week. That drive had nothing to do with wanting to see my friends. Now I walk everywhere and I’ve started having dreams about driving. I guess the old saying of you never know what you’ve got until its gone is true for me and my car. I’ll be back in Colorado in a week and I think the first thing that I want to do is drive. Maybe then I’ll miss my daily walk home from the gym and all of the crazy drivers that swerve to try to hit me. But for now I am longing for home, not to stay their permanently, but to be able to drive around for a little bit and recharge my battery.