Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Driving Myself Crazy

I don’t mean to sound sexist, but I have always associated cars with men. Men driving cars. Race cars, everyday cars, sardarjis driving huge trucks. Little boys playing with their huge collection of cars, ramming one into the other. Strong men controlling and maneuvering a vehicle moving at breakneck speed with their hairy, powerful hands. An alter ego of mine liked to believe that the steering is not meant for manicured, pretty hands with red painted nails. A woman coming out of her driver’s seat to open the door for a man is unheard of.

Anyway, these were my excuses to myself for not learning to drive. But come America, you are not really expected to depend for office commute or grocery on your friends. My US trotting trips would have been more fruitful if I knew how to drive. Instead, I waited for buses for hours, not just for the office or grocery, but even while going out on a date, while visiting Disneyland in California, even while exploring the beaches in Hawaii.

Come summer, I hosted 2 interns at my place so that they would teach me how to drive. Sharing my space with two boys is a different story altogether that would make a good few dozen blog posts, but for later. They were friends of friends of course, not random strangers.

As you can imagine, its been an interesting summer for me, living with two guys who have helped me car hunting, giving me advice on things I knew nothing about (car insurance, car maintenance, etc.), and took me for my car practicing lessons everyday. I did take half a dozen classes from the driving school, but the rest, I left to them. There was no respite after a long and hard day at office. They had to take me out to the nearby streets and sit through the process of a rather wobbly-handed me driving.

I am sure that more than me, my roomies prayed I passed the test. More so that I could spare them the “take me out for driving practice” chore at weird times of the day.

I parallel parked perfectly. I backed around the corner more than perfectly. Uphill parking, downhill parking, emergency stopping, changing lanes, everything went fine. I sat through the torture of having a Chinese man as my driving examiner at the DMV whose instructions I barely followed. He deducted 2 points for me taking a slow left turn, never realizing it was my random guess that he asked me to turn left. He took off 4 points because he thought I drove slowly, not realizing that when you don’t follow your examiners heavily accented Chinese, you drive slow. But all that is beyond me.

Yes, and so are the days of asking my roomies to take me to practice, of waiting for the driving school instructor to come pick me up. Gone are the days when friends would ask me how much more time I had before I took the test.

For after 1.5 month’s trials and tribulations, I passed my driving test with flying colors. In the very first attempt.

I am on top of the world. If there was a remake of DDLJ, my dad would take me around those heavily framed pictures of my long dead ancestors and boast about how they drove cycles and bikes, while I am the first person in the family to actually own a car and know how to drive it.

I’m still scared of speed and have not yet hit the US freeways. But passing the driving test has been a huge boost to my confidence.

Not that it makes me wish any less that my fictitious brawny, hairy, chivalrous man with strong hands still drove me around and opened the car door for me.

Thank you everyone for all the good wishes, it all worked. sunshine has one more feather in her cap now. She can drive.



alpine path said...

Congrats!!! :)

Sanchit said...

ur car posts are the ones i really adore... :D

Sapi said...

That's a good news :) Congratulations!!

Raksha Raman said...

Necessity makes you learn a lot of things in life :)

Pavi!!!! said...

yayeee! Congrats! i know EXACTLY how u feel !

lol @ the DDLJ imagination!

n if i may ask..why do u never respond to comments?i donno if u even read the comments!

Jaya said...

I applaud you. Congrats !
I know exactly how you feel