Monday, August 17, 2009

I-5 Finally

What you fear the most will come back to haunt you.

What you want to avoid will meet you when you least expect it.

What you don’t want to see will look at you in the eyes.

I could have written about this in my usual humorous, wry, sarcastic, “I don’t give a shit” style. But when I think about it, I am struck by the truth of my above mentioned lines.

For years, I feared to learn to drive. I even shuddered at the thought. Even when I learnt to drive, I was shit scared of freeway driving. I wanted to avoid it for as long as I could.

My summer pals went jogging in Greenlake, and I thought of accompanying them with a book and my mp3 player, just some time to while away from home. Post running and dining, we headed home. This time, I was behind the wheels. Usual drill. No music in the car. No unnecessary talking. No rolled down windows or unnecessary noise. The GPS was set to the “avoid freeways” mode. It would take some 10-15 extra minutes, and a few miles of extra drive, but still, no I-5 for me. I’d take the I-5 on a special occasion, maybe a few months from now, when I had all mastered the skills of driving. I even asked them to double check the GPS. “Avoid Freeway” mode.

I drive an unknown road, and the next thing I see, I enter a lane with the sign “I-5 South only” written in front of me. A signboard it wasn’t, it seemed it was my fate written all over me. A goof up. An unpredictable, brainless machine for a GPS. I instinctively slowed, even wanted to reverse the car if I could. The driver behind me honked. Bleddy impatient man.

I had two options. I could freeze and be honked at and get hit. Or I could pretend as if nothing had happened, and keep driving. Survival instinct, I was so close to doing the first when I did the second. I cautiously took the next exit.

I reached home safely. I parked the car. I shut the engine. I somehow made it to the front door of my apartment. I shut myself up in the restroom.

I began to sob.

I don’t know if it was tears of victory, or tears of relief that I was alive. Later that night, I counted the numerous occasions when this has happened to me.

What I feared the most has always come haunting me. What I wanted to avoid the most has come looking for me.



A Girl from Timbuktu said...

That always happens isn't it...what you truly don't want!
Driving on highways is daunting here for a new driver....but hey u did it, didn't you...So do it again and again :)

This post also reminded me of my first time driving in Delhi, where the traffic is notorious, chauvinistic (the male drivers, especially the Jatts of gurgaon - who will try every way possible to harass a lady behind the wheels), where Lane driving is still a foreign concept, and light jumping and honking are considered driving rituals. I would be so scared taking the car to my office, that for first few weeks I used to book radio cabs...I eventually learned how to drive well (radio cab drive to office was pretty expensive)....

so girl drive on the highways as often as u can....

Pavi!!!! said...

u conquered fear! u did it! pat on ur back!

Jaya said...

dont know what to say :(
jus some hugs to cheer u up

alpine path said...

So, you've conquered I-5? That's great news!! :) Now waits a trip to Portland or some place where you'd prefer not to use the 'avoid freeways' option! :P

..... said...

don't worry...i am also learning to drive recently and always have one of my frnds as a navigator and have a quota of one honk a trip :) i can totally identify with your condition... :)