Amy Tries Again

Things I Do Not Like: Driving
November 10, 2010, 12:01 PM
Filed under: Things I Do Not Like

Ladies and gentlemen: I am 27 years of age and I cannot drive a car.  I’m a decade late.  I have never felt comfortable with the idea that someone could consider me qualified in any way to control the speed and direction of a small tank-like object in a densely populated area.  It just seems like a really, really bad idea.

The strange mix of apathy and dread I have when it come to getting behind the wheel isn’t a new thing.  My confidence in that department peaked at about the age of six (look, I was pretty confident about most things at the age of six).  Dad would sit me on his lap and let me steer around the vacant lot/carpark thing near the local shops, and, as far as I knew, I was very good at it.  I was confident that I would have my own racecar very shortly.  I then noticed all the peripherals – funny little pedals you had to push with your feet, a strange stick thing to move into different positions for no apparent reason, lots of lights and buttons and…BORING.  I re-dedicated myself to my true ambition: to be a penguin when I grew up (I was very taken with penguins), and assumed I would deal with the whole boring driving a car thing when I reached adulthood.  As a penguin.

Required reading.

Time marched on, and cars remained boring.  We had a beige station wagon when I was growing up, which probably didn’t help.  I simply couldn’t understand why some people – usually boys – made such a fuss about cars.  They were machines that could take you from A to B.  Sometimes the B involved that most ghastly of creations, a family driving holiday, and I had to sit in the back with my brother and sister for hours and hours.  It was hot and tedious.

Teenage me, of course, viewed cars in a different light.  Freedom!  Sweet freedom!  Sweet freedom driven by someone else.  One by one, my friends got their learner’s permits and acquired secondhand hatchbacks.  Eventually, my desire to be like everybody else won out over my astounding lack of motivation, and, only a few years late, I ventured into Queensland Transport.

It didn’t occur to me that the learner’s permit test would contain things that I couldn’t figure out by myself.  Rote…learning?  Memorising…rules?  Bosh and flimshaw!  Thanks to this, it took me three tries, but I finally had my learner’s.   I really should have just gotten an 18+ card, because for ages I only used it for ID.

At perhaps 21, I decided: right!  Let’s do this.  I kangaroo-hopped around Coorparoo with my mother or with my cousin (who, despite being three years younger than me, already had her licence and a car).  I was not what you would call very good.  I got hysterical giggles and scared my mother.  I tried to steer Courtney’s car into oncoming traffic.  I stalled about every four seconds and ran into gutters.  This was TOO HARD.  I have never been particularly keen on things I’m not good at straight away.

Enter a driving instructor.  A friend had recommended Julian, a rather terrifying man of eastern european origin, who basically intimidated his students into learning.  He was quite good.  ‘CHANGE GEARS NOW.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND OR NO?’  The answer was usually no.  He managed to impress upon me that driving a car was Serious Business, and something I could not bluff my way through.  I kind of, sort of, began to get it.  Before I could think about taking a test (I was nowhere near ready) or even properly execute a three-point-turn, the permit I’d gotten a few years earlier expired.

Yeah, I thought.  I’ll renew it in a week or two and get back to it.  I need a little rest, anyway.  Julian is mean.

It’s now late 2010.  I have still not gone back.  The general uneasiness with the whole concept of driving had subsided significantly whilst I was taking lessons, but has risen back to its old levels.  I still occasionally have dreams I’ve been having since childhood – me, suddenly behind the wheel, and having no clue what to do.  I can’t drive!  I’m just a kid!


So…here I go again.  I’m starting from scratch.  Tomorrow, after I hand in the essay I have due, I’m taking myself to Queensland Transport and sitting the exam for my Learner’s Permit.  I’ve been reading and re-reading the cleverly titled government publication ‘Your Keys To Driving In Queensland’, and I’ve drilled the practice tests online to the point where I only got three wrong last time I took one.  This is Going.  To.  Happen.

Unless, of course, anyone knows how to turn me into a penguin?

Update: Read about the unfortunate incident that transpired on my first driving lesson here.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I used to have those dreams too. They stop almost immediately after you learn to drive properly.

It is worth it at the end of it. The satisfaction of a long ordeal. The freedom that it gives you. Of course, then you have the problem that you have to start paying for cars and rego and petrol etc etc..

Comment by DNABeast

I highly sympathize with this entry. I didn’t get my license till this year. Stick at it, Amy.

Comment by James

Great minds begin blog posts alike, it seems 🙂 Chookas for the show tonight, btw.

Comment by Amy

You can do it.

Comment by Candy

[…] the floods delayed my plans to get back behind the wheel, I had another go today. It was the first time in years, and I was quite excited. My venerable […]

Pingback by My First Car Accident « Amy Tries Again

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