Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I'm learning to drive!
Unlike most Americans, who were encouraged to learn to drive as soon as they could reach the pedals and stay behind the wheel (not necessarily sitting!), I didn't get the opportunity to start learning to drive until now - out of necessity.
I am forty eight years old.
You see, living in the Philippines without a car could never be described as a genuine inconvenience. If a bus was missed there would soon be another; or a jeepney, or a motorcycle with a side car we call tricycle or one could take the metro rail transit to just about anywhere in the Greater Metro Manila area, with no worries.
But where I live now, public transport disappear completely like some Bermuda triangle-like phenomenon whisking them away to another dimension.
A real problem. But the solution was easy - learn to drive!
Ok, since I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, I convinced myself I will pass the test. And sure enough with only four errors I acquired my permit and the right to drive with a licensed driver.
The first time I sat in front of the steering wheel I feel as if I could go into a panic attack. My breathing is shallow and my body stiff. But it helps to have a patient instructor like Ken beside me. He would patiently remind me to buckle up, adjust the seat and the mirrors before I start the car. I would drive about 50 miles per hour, which was pretty close to the speed limit in the country roads here. Ken however would keep telling me that I was going too slow and needed to speed up that's because he constantly monitor my speed!
I'm pretty certain I stalled my car on every street corner in my hometown the first time I went around it and Ken kept asking me to just drive him to the emergency room. But just to make this clear, Ken never appeared to get anxious or angry at any mistakes I made. We would cruise around wherever I pleased which made driving with him a lot of fun. Unlike a driving instructors, who I guess would generally give me specific directions when it came to what streets I could drive on.
Ken let me decide where I wanted to go. He was almost pleasant. Which is scary in its own way. Haha.
For now I dreaded the thought of driving in the city because I know I would be praying for streetlights to remain green for me - always.
Did I tell you I haven't practiced parking and backing up?
But with the State Government shutdown, it will be a while before I could get my road test and a driving license. I'll just cruise idly for now...