Four years ago I finally got my driver's license. It was a novelty at first. It was nice that friends no longer smiled sympathetically and questioned my ability to lead a fulfilling and independent life without a license. The days of showing leg on the highway for a ride to Whistler or being the one that couldn't contribute to sacrifice shuttles were over. I even started driving to work. Then, as the high of feeling like a real adult wore off, I realized that my morning commute had become more of an observation than an experience; it felt like I was watching a movie. There was a subtle disconnect from my world. Pedestrians, people turning left, and even cyclists all annoyed me. Apparently I was a driver now; I couldn't interact with anyone beyond turn signals and brake lights.
While riding to work I had connected with the people around me. Riding had removed the barrier for communication. Sometimes the communication was, "Hey you asshole! You had a stop sign!" but more often than not, it was saying "good morning" to people collecting bottles in my alley, nodding hello to other commuters, or thanking pedestrians for giving me the right of way. I especially missed the occasional flirtatious interaction, chatting at stoplights or trying to look cool while I painful slipped a pedal into my shin. On a snowy commute one day a woman driving by rolled down her window and commended me for riding, I fell over about a block later, but that interaction made me smile all day.