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Road Warrior

superme
Hi, Internets! I have a teaching job that starts next year at a great school; that's exciting!

And it has promoted another thing that is less "exciting" and more "deeply terrifying": I am learning how to drive.

When I turned 17 my parents gave me six driving lessons for a present. They were eventually redeemed by my brother when he turned 17, 2 years and 4 months later. My parents were disappointed. I was sorry they were disappointed. But I was not sad that I hadn't used the gift.

Up until now, I have not needed nor wanted to drive, so I have not learned. I lived in Christchurch and Fuchu-shi (Japan) and Melbourne, all of whom had public transport systems that went from "okay, mostly" to "superb, cleaned by people wearing white gloves." But my teaching job is in a place where a car would, finally, be very close to essential.

So I have to learn.

Five reasons being able to drive would be kinda cool:

1: I could buy a whole bunch of groceries at once!
2: Lugging piles of resources to school would be significantly easier on my back and shoulders.
3: I wouldn't have to check with people if I can get a ride to a thing that isn't within public transport + walking reach, and turn down the thing/take a taxi if no ride was available.
4: Road trips! I like those! I could offer to spell the driver!
5: If there was an emergency I could drive someone someplace, although frankly I would not put me behind the wheel in an emergency unless there was absolutely no other option whatsoever.

Ten reasons driving is super awful:

1: So bad for the environment. Like, ridiculously, terribly bad.
2: I will need to acquire an exercise regime beyond "walk places".
3: A CAR WEIGHS ABOUT FIVE HUNDRED TIMES MORE THAN A TODDLER AND IF I HIT A TODDLER WITH A CAR THEY WILL DIE AND I WILL CARRY THAT GUILT FOREVER.
4: Ugh cars are so expensive to buy and upkeep and fill with petrol.
5-10: SEE REASON THREE.

I acquired my learner license on Tuesday. My Fabulous Sister has given me two ten-minute lessons in an empty parking lot, because that's about as much panic-stricken babbling is fair to unleash on her in a session:

Me: "Okay, I'm stopping, gently, gently, I turn on the indicators, I check my mirrors, I turn the wheel a bit, I put my foot on the accelerator, I turn more TURN MORE TURN MORE."
She: "You're fine, now straighten up."
Me: "It's NOT STRAI- okay, I slow down a bit, I - OMG ANOTHER CAR IS COMING INTO THE PARKING LOT."
She: "You're fine, just make sure you stay to the-"
Me: "No, nope, I'm just going to stop and wait for it to go. THIS IS SCARY."
She: "No, it's not! You're being negative again!"
Me: "DID I NOT TELL YOU ABOUT THE TODDLER?"

I'll get there. I have to learn, so I will. But at the moment, my driving life is a slow* disaster movie.


* Very, very slow.

This entry was originally posted at http://karenhealey.dreamwidth.org/69867.html. You can comment here, at Dreamwidth using OpenID, or at my website, karenhealey.com

Comments

( 12 — comment )
apintrix
Nov. 7th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
It is good that you are cautious, it will make you a better driver once you calm your initial anxiety!

Is there anyone you can carpool with to assuage your pollution concerns somewhat?

It's great to learn to drive, I think, even if you don't wind up driving much, because it opens up your options for situations like "what if I am with a person who is too drunk to drive" or "what if there is an emergency and someone needs to go to the ER" or "zombie apocalypse is coming down the road, quick let's all get out of here."
eyebrowofdoom
Nov. 7th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
DRIVING DRIVING DRIVING

COMPARTMENTALISATION - we puts the knowledge of the car as deadly weapon in a nice box and then puts the lid most of the way on, see? We keeps it a bit ajar because a certain level of caution is a good idea. But not too far open! Remember, many stupider and more unco people than us drive perfectly well enough!
mysterysquid
Nov. 7th, 2013 08:27 pm (UTC)
Hey, congrats on the job!

Driving does get easier.
inkpenpaper
Nov. 8th, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
Yeah I haaaaaate driving. I actually did learn at 16, because regional NSW public transport just barely exists and in Years 11 and 12 of highschool, the timetable is strange enough that driving becomes strongly recommended if not necessary.

My mum couldn't teach me. I have never had such viscious, horrible fights with her about anything else. My dad could teach me. With my brother it was the other way around.

I still hate it. And I hate that parents will tell me that I just need more confidence while at the same time telling everyone what a terrible driver I am.
poisonivory
Nov. 8th, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I feel you. I couldn't practice parallel parking with my mom in the car - too much fighting. Twelve years later she still hangs on to the door if I'm behind the wheel like I'm about to do a barrel roll.

(I practiced parallel parking with my aunt instead. She brought over traffic cones for it. Where did she get them??? So many mysteries.)
inkpenpaper
Nov. 10th, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah my aunt taught me to parallel park after all other attempts failed. The failed attempts were... there were tears. Not all of them were mine.

By my aunt taught me in fifteen minutes, and now I am firmly convinced that aunts are magic.
penmage
Nov. 8th, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
I learned to drive four years ago at the age of 26, and to this day, I grudgingly and with great trepidation drive. It's really good to be able to drive myself to the train, or the supermarket, or take my kid to school, but I am always 100% nervous. So I feel your pain.
aimeesworld
Nov. 8th, 2013 04:39 am (UTC)
I learned to drive when I was at Teacher's College reluctantly but with the awareness that my job might not be in Wellington. It's fortunate I did because the Bay of Plenty would SUCK without a car.

I found driving school lessons massively helpful, especially with the guy who had brakes and a clutch of his own, because I learned how to steer and change gears without worrying I was going to kill people and animals.
msconduct
Nov. 8th, 2013 05:08 am (UTC)
Yes, me too. Dual controls are so...relaxing. Also the preternatural calm driving school people project is very soothing.
poisonivory
Nov. 8th, 2013 11:28 pm (UTC)
Learning to drive is the worst. :( But driving itself is pretty okay, once you're used to it. (Note: I say this as someone who spent high school in suburban New Jersey, where "driving around aimlessly while listening to Bon Jovi/Bruce Springsteen" is the primary form of entertainment.) I hope it gets less stressful for you soon!

Congrats on the job!
lirazel
Nov. 9th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
ARGHDRIVING! (also, congrats on the job!)
Yeah. Didn't learn to drive until I was 25, then mostly stopped for about 5 years because I hated it so badly. But work and supporting the other lifeform I spawned required it. And now I am the sole driver for another person all the time.

But yes, a frightened driver (not terrified, just frightened) is a safe driver. And I give people lifts as often as possible and help out with grocery shopping and such because, as you say, ENVIRONMENT.

And very much congrats on the job!
gothicsparrow
Nov. 11th, 2013 04:25 am (UTC)
That sounds like all the reasons I don't drive. Thank the flying spaghetti monster for good public transport.

Though random driving trips are very cool.
( 12 — comment )