Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Car (e) free

Things that I am told.

What? You still don’t know how to drive?

How many years have you been in the US?

Come on, it is not that difficult. Millions do it. Even women do it.

Don’t you feel like a handicap?

Oh, it doesn’t take more than a few days.

Things that I say.
Yes, I don’t drive.

Yes, you are right, I have never driven.

Yes yes, damn right. I have never driven in India as well. Or Nigeria. I have never handled the steering wheel.

Yes I know the statistics. I know the numbers. I have been here for 3 years now. I commute 20 miles each way to work everyday. That is 40 miles of travel. That is 3 hours of travel. That is travel worth 3 bus changes. And yes, I still haven’t learnt how to drive.

Yes it is not that difficult. Millions do it. And that’s why I am scared. The millions we are talking about are right there on the streets.

Yes, I know it is easier than driving in India. But it still remains a skill I haven’t mastered.

Yes, I do feel like a handicap, happy? I have a genuine fear of speed. Calling me a handicap doesn’t make me feel better, or make me want to jump behind the wheels. It only makes me feel like not answering your phone the next time you call me.

Yes I have a genuine fear of controlling anything that moves faster than 5 miles per hour. If I can willingly commute in buses for 3 hours everyday, my fear must be real, right?

Yes, I fear it because I feel like being in control of a toy that can actually hurt or kill people if I make mistakes. Including myself.

And so goes the conversation between my well wishers and me. Yes I know learning to drive doesn’t take more than a few weeks, and there are millions who do it. I know people mean well. But shock treatment, wisdom and pushing me doesn’t help. What’s in a car, I wish I could fly planes. It’s just that I don’t think I am ready for it yet.



Ambuj Saxena said...

"I fear it because I feel like being in control of a toy that can actually hurt or kill people if I make mistakes. Including myself."

Your heart is in the right place. I think you will make an excellent driver.

naween said...

me too !! people laugh at me when i drive my bike below 50!!

alpine path said...

Having been in the same position as you, I'll tell you this: Take your time and drive when you are ready - you'll enjoy it more that way! If you hurry up for the sake of others, there will always be a nagging doubt at the back of your head; and that is dangerous for driving! Have fun :)

Pavi!!!! said...

I have been in ur shoes..i REALLY have. Infact I didn’t ride or drive in india..not even a bicycle..walking was my thing. I YET don’t ride or drive in india. I donno how to!

But seeing everyone here drive made me WANT to drive n so I learnt driving…over almost 1.5 yrs…in breaks n FINALLY got my license. It was such an achievement. N I love the feeling of freedom n independence I get with it. Have to learn to drive in the winters now.

Krishna said...

Hey Sunshine! Tuned in to your blog after a long time..
About ur driving skills..rather nonskills..ain't it easier in U.S. where there are no gears in cars. Just zip zap zooomm like our indian scooty.. :))