The Obvious

caution: new driver

Posted in driving, the thrilling goings-on by theobvious on April 16, 2008

Third driving lesson today, second time actually driving in the streets. The instructor made me drive about a mile yesterday in full traffic with no warning. An adrenalin rush, but little more. Today, when I arrived and made it for the passenger seat to be taken as usual through the city to the practice track, he motioned for the driver’s seat and I drove almost non-stop for an hour and a half.

Ah, this feeling of omnipotence: I am steering, pushing pedals, changing gears, rarely forgetting to glance in the mirrors – all at the same time. A little wobbly, a little jerky, more than a little unsure of myself – but not of what I’m doing. Most of the time he even didn’t have to tell me to change gears, I did it instinctively like a real big girl, Mommy, look, look, no hands – aah.

– of course, there were mistakes. For Pete’s sake, it’s my first time driving a car! I rushed and then had to brake so abruptly that I felt my head bob like a Chinese toy in a trucker’s cab, more than once. And I kept swerving to the left, not accustomed to this new balance with a looming mass on the right of me that also needs to be steered. And the instructor kept snapping at me until I snapped back and almost cried with the exhaustion and the inability to perform perfectly from the get-go.

And then he let me take a break, and told me this was hard, and I was doing very well, if only I could stop rushing. He became very gentle; and I immediately stopped making a mess of myself, and drove gracefully for another 3/4 of an hour, all the way listening to his funny stories from America, or telling him about the mysterious ways of the Jews. And now I can drive. All that remains is a matter of practice (and I can’t park yet, but I can maneuver backwards).


7 Responses

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  1. At said, on April 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    That’s great! I need to start taking driving lessons too, but – too lazy and not enough time in any case, alas.

  2. slurredpress said, on April 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I’m impressed!

    I’ve been driving for nine years and still can’t seem to get the hang of a stick shift.

  3. Pamela said, on April 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe they put a new driver in the car for so long at one time. Yay new driver! I grew up in Los Angeles which is the Land of Cars which means I had my drivers license 5 minutes after the DMV opened on my 16th birthday. I hate being in the car but I like being able to get around. Enjoy.

  4. ollka said, on April 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Wow, look at this – I turn my back for a snap, and lo, three people have found time to say such nice and encouraging things! Thank you.

    At: classes at seven-bloody-a.m. like mine today will solve the time problem. The laziness, um, eh, hmm ;)

    April: the instructor is a blessing. He made me practice without looking and it seemed easy.

    Pamela: well, the guy next to me has all the same pedals, so if I do something stupid he can always save both our necks. Growing up in the Land of Cars sounds cool. Why do you hate being in the car?

  5. Pamela said, on April 17, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Why do I hate being in a car? Wow, you got me. I don’t know how to articulate it. I guess because most of my driving is during rush hour it tends to be stressful. It’s not like I’m in such a big hurry but more like there are so many cars all trying to do their own thing, and then you get where you’re going and you have to find a place to park and if there’s an accident it gets crazy. But then last year I did a trip by myself to the coast of Oregon and it was beautiful and I enjoyed the drive a great deal. I guess it depends.

  6. Paytra said, on April 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Congrats on driving! Thought I would let you know about the “CAUTION NEW DRIVER” sticker for your car that will help to caution other drivers around you. It can help to stop “mad drivers” to slow down and go around you. Always watch your speed and be a safe, calm driver!

  7. ollka said, on April 20, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Paytra: thanks for the tip, I think it’s regulation in my country to have the sticker, so I’ll be sure to get it.

    Pamela: I guess it does. I wish you got more enjoyable drives and less stressful ones.

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