What can you tell about a man based on the length of his driveway?

When I was nine my parents paved our suburban driveway. They measured it first. It was 105 feet long from the street to the garage. One-hundred-and-five feet! I thought we were rich. I casually mentioned the length of my driveway in my fourth grade classroom many times that season.

When I lived in a duplex in the city my driveway was just long enough to pull a car in off the street. If it snowed my truck would be covered but the driveway was clean. Depending on how carefully I backed out into the street I could almost avoid shoveling my driveway.

Actually, the most unique driveways I know of belong to women. My ex-wife – my kids’ mom – lives on a remote hillside in rural Upstate New York. Their driveway is 3000 feet long; that’s six-tenths-of-a-mile. It takes 30 minutes – one sitcom – to walk down to the roadside mailbox and back.

A woman friend of mine lives on the main street in a tiny nearby village. I was with her late one summer night when we pulled in her driveway. She did not stop but drove right on into her baseball diamond-size backyard. The grass was door handle high, but in it she had mowed a giant maze. As we drove along the paths cut through the high grass, fireflies and mosquitoes flashed in the headlight beams as thick as schools of fish.

Right now I have no driveway. Just a parking space. A yellow rectangle framing the number “5”.

If I ever buy another house, I’d like a circular driveway that comes in, curves around and goes out again. That way I’ll always be moving forward.

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