Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Driving: It's Not The Greatest

I have been driving for some time now. Unlike many people I know, I got my license as soon as I was legally able to. Of course that doesn't mean I really actually like driving. In my adult life I have been reliant on more modes of transport than most people: car, bicycle, scooter, public transport. And, to be honest, I don't really like driving a car. Quiet country roads are ok, but driving in traffic stresses me out more than you can imagine.

Admittedly, one of the best compliments I ever got for my driving was a guy who said in all sincerity:

"I like driving with you, Sarah. It's like being on a ride."

Th-thanks? I guess?

It's not that I'm not a good driver. I am, at the very least, competent in not causing people grievous bodily harm when I get behind the wheel. I remember talking to my first housemate about this subject once. She confessed that she'd had no less than 12 accidents in her driving career, all of which were her fault. Two of which involved her driving into shop fronts. I asked her how she possibly managed to get insured with a record like that and she informed me that her actual record was clean because she'd never reported any of the incidents. Guys: I'm not that bad.

My dislike for driving a car can probably be traced back to when I was first learning. I was being taught by my dad, driving around quiet streets in Newcastle. One day, we started getting a bit adventurous and ventured onto a slightly busier road. In a nightmarish scenario for anyone who is just learning to drive, the brakes failed. What makes it worse is that my father didn't believe me that the brakes had failed and just thought I was doing something wrong. Luckily, I managed to get us home safely with Dr Dad chastising me all the way for not using enough brake. I parked the car with the handbrake and went inside to collapse in my room in a nervous heap. About ten minutes later, he knocked on the door and confessed that he'd looked at the car and discovered that the brakes were actually completely shot and we were lucky that we hadn't been in a serious accident. Excellent news for any 16 year old L plater.

But I did go on to get my license and drive relatively safely for many years. When I moved to South Australia, I spent a long time not driving simply because I don't have a car. Luckily the public transport here is decent enough that I didn't really need one. Nowadays, Meattrain trusts me enough (for some reason) to let me borrow his car from time to time.

I can remember the first time this happened. It was late and Vegatrain and I wanted to do a Maccas run for some tasty no-meat cheeseburgers (don't knock it until you try it you guys). Meattrain said that if we brought him back some real man's food, I could borrow his car. The problem with that was that I hadn't driven a car in about six months and had spent the last three days playing a substantial amount of Grand Theft Auto. Not a great combination. I climbed behind the wheel and my instant reaction was 'Ok, let's ram some cop cars! What guns do we have in case we see some hookers?'

Luckily, our destination was only five minutes away so nothing drastic happened.

-Smackie Onassis

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