She was Nebraskan, corn-fed. Taller than I, bigger than I. We were seventeen, neighbors in our dorm our first year of college.

There was no chemistry between us. Though she was hot, in her way, she was just too big for me at the time. (And I suppose I was probably too short, and scrawny, for her.) And I was dating a tiny Jewish woman (there was a moment when seventeen-year-old girls at elite colleges were WOMEN, dammit) from New York who didn’t weigh enough to give blood.

Anyway, late one night, we sat comparing our very different lives thus far. We got to the subject of cars.

“What kind of car do you drive?” she asked.

“Um. I don’t drive a car.”

“You mean you don’t have one?”

“No,” I said. I could sense we were veering Into dangerous territory, that I was confessing more than I knew. “I don’t drive.”

She looked puzzled. Like I suddenly was speaking a language she didn’t understand. “You don’t drive? Why not?”

“Well,” I said. “I don’t have a license.”

She was visibly horrified, confused, as if she suddenly found herself confronted with a creature with two heads.

“You don’t have a license?” she asked, incredulously.

“No,” I said, cautiously.

“You don’t know how to drive?” she asked. Her voice grew almost shrill.

“Nope,” I said. I was getting defiant, now. I wasn’t going to brook any Nebraskan superiority.

She thought for a minute. “Wait – that means you’ve never parked!”

“Oh, no,” I said, getting her point instantly. “I’ve parked, plenty.”

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