Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flights of Freeway

No matter how tired and sleepy I am, I must document this before I sleep. I smile to myself as I type this. It’s a very special night. It’s a very special feeling. It’s the same feeling you get when you know you are falling in love.

I kept hesitating for days, concocting a lot many excuses – bad weather, bad traffic, exhaustion, and what not. The truth was, even though I had bagged my license, I was shit scared to hit the freeway. I imagined driving my car from office to work, a good 20 miles, the majority of it being on the freeway, and I shuddered at the dozen different things that could go wrong. I could hit something, something could hit me, the possibilities were endless. I felt scared, guilty, and then went into denial till I knew I had to do it.

And I decided to do it.

Back from office, I asked the boys (my roomies) to hand me the car keys. I know what they thought with the look they gave me. But it was time I got rid of my fears and took the plunge.

Office to home, I drove a good 20 miles for the first time, all by myself. It was mostly on the freeway, and it was shit scary. 520 West it was. It’s the first time I drove at a record speed of 65 mph. There were so many times when I wanted to give up and take the next exit. But driving till I reached home would have made me the happiest.

I know I slowed down unnecessarily so many times. I was honked at so many times (I think 6 times) especially while yielding to opposite traffic while taking a left on green. I am thankful to those who were patient and let me merge at Montlake. I know it isn’t that big a deal or that great a distance, even marathon runners run more than what I drove. But the first trip on a freeway is always scary and special (I don’t count the previous 2 mile freeway driving experience with my driving instructor 4 days ago). Maybe someday, I will fulfill my dream of driving to any national park, any beach, without hesitating about the length of the drive. Maybe someday I’ll do a US cross country driving trip. But these 20 odd miles of driving with all the tension and honking and slowing down will always be special.

I am not exaggerating a bit that by the time I had reached home, my limbs were shaking and my back hurt out of the tension released. But little steps, one step at a time. Just thinking about it gives me a high that will not let me sleep easily tonight.

sunshine

9 comments:

Raksha Raman said...

Congratulations on the latest accomplishment!! Way to go!!

Neha said...

I could so identify with this post!!I remember the first time i had driven on the freeway, alone, about a year ago...My palms were all red and sweaty because I was holding the steering so tightly. But even so, at the end of it, I felt like I had accomplished a big deal, and to me it really was!

alpine path said...

Cool :) I drive on 520 East and can imagine the traffic in the evening. You should try the I-5 or 405 next!

Sapi said...

Hey i could relate the post to myself. Congratulations on ur accomplishment! Just some more time and it becomes a child's play, u will master it...

naween said...

congratulations :)

Pavi!!!! said...

at the risk of sounding repetitive...all these car stories of urs..could be MY story!

ya..i used tog et nervous while heading out on freeways too.i sumtimes yet do..when i have to pass one of the HUGE trucks.i think my heart stops beating for those few secs!
the best way to get rid of the fear is to keep driving regularly. my gr8est accomplishment was when i shared a 8 hr drive to the niagara falls with my hubby.. EQUALLY. ya i drove for 4 hrs on the freeway n was so proud of myself!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

Congrats and well done! I can relate to your fear of driving- esp the freeway with the high speeds seems more daunting than stop and go city traffic..

CM-Chap said...

Congratz.. Now Im trying to count how many ppl yelled at you :)

Anurag said...

it definitely wud've been an awesome experience.