Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Like Starting from Scratch

After months of vacillating, I finally went out and bought myself a cheap little run-around car last Friday. The crazy thing is, while I have had it for two days, it's just been sitting in my driveway and I have been making one excuse after another not to take it out.

Okay, I admit it. I am terrified of taking it out. I live less than 2 kilometers from work, a distance which I walk every day, but I have yet to find the courage in my lily-livered heart to finally drive it by myself.

Having been a proficient commuter all my life, I'd never felt particularly motivated to learn how to drive - which is why I didn't really start driving back home until I was in my mid-twenties. Once I'd gotten the hang of it, though, I quickly fell in love with being behind the wheel - traffic mishaps, meandering journeys, and all. Driving was just such a great way to tune out and enjoy my own company in the comfort of my own car, going to where I wanted to go at my own pace. But, of course, getting to that comfort level was a long time in coming.

Unfortunately for me, I happened to choose a country where people drive on the other side of the road and where they have some pretty definite speed limits. For someone who has, under normal circumstances, always had a case of slight right-left confusion and is used to taking her sweet time in everything, this is something out of a nightmare.

It hasn't helped that my friends from back home and family all have such a huge level of confidence about my driving that they never fail to warn me in dire tones that driving here is very different and much more difficult - and to ask me if I was absolutely sure I could handle it.

No wonder I'm having tension headaches at the thought of having to take out my little hatch (with no power steering and manual transmission) anywhere on my own.

The last time I felt this twitchy about getting behind the wheel was at my first driving lesson back home. I've taken a few driving lessons here in a manual car, but I felt a lot more secure because there was someone beside me watching what I was doing and had his own set of pedals. The idea of driving alone to anywhere over here feels like I'm being shoved off the deep end of a pool, not knowing how to swim.

But if I don't start now, I'll end up putting it off and putting it off until it's time for me to go home.

Still all I've had the gumption to do by myself has been to park it into the driveway, back up into the road, and take it for a spin around the block - with my heart in my throat the whole time. And one of the first new lessons I've learned in my new car is that without power steering, I don't have to go to the gym to get a good upper body work up - all I have to do is maneuver into a parking spot.

I can do this. I've been driving for four years, for cripes' sake.

Now if I could only believe my own pep talk, I just might be able to take my car those two kilometers down to work tomorrow - even if I'll be driving on the other side of the road.


Manggy said...

Argh, I have the same apprehensions as you-- but I'm still in my own country! To be fair, it's probably easier to drive there in practice-- walang gitgitan/traffic/barumbado or whatever. :)

Em Dy said...

I'm sure you can do it. But really the orientation is quite difficult to get used to even for someone crossing the street.

Abaniko said...

You'll soon get the hang of it. Meantime, just don't forget to look to your right first when crossing intersections. :)

Walking on Water said...

just make sure you run into some hot traffic police, okay? =)
men in uniform seem to have a thing for you claire, so go ahead, break some traffic rules! wohoo! exciting!