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Meryl was a little embarrassed to admit it. She was 37 years old, and didn’t know how to drive. When she lived in Queens, it wasn’t such a big deal. Everything that she needed was close by. The supermarket was one block away. She would take her shopping cart and get what she needed for the week easily. When she didn’t feel like dragging the shopping cart, the supermarket even delivered for free. All she had to do was tip the driver. She would use that same shopping cart to take clothes to and from the laundromat, which was only a block away. While Meryl’s job was not a block away, the subway station was. Every day she would walk the block to catch a 45-minute underground train ride to work. She repeated the journey in reverse to return home in the evenings.
Alhambra sure was different, though. The walk from Meryl’s house to the supermarket was nearly a mile. She didn’t feel like walking that long a distance while pushing shopping cart full of a week’s worth of food. The laundromat was a mile in the other direction. She wasn’t going to push her dirty clothes through that many streets. There were no trains nearby to take her to work, just buses. The buses always took a long time to come. For the first few weeks, Meryl was always late everywhere. Sometimes when she had an urgent appointment, Meryl would ask friends to give her a ride somewhere. Almost all of her friends had cars and knew how to drive. Most of them learned it when they were in high school.
After a while, her friends were tired of giving Meryl rides everywhere. “You need to learn how to drive, Meryl,” they told her. She knew they were right, but Meryl was scared.