karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
[personal profile] karenhealey
Hi, Internets! I have a teaching job that starts next year at a great school; that's exciting!

And it has promoted another thing that is less "exciting" and more "deeply terrifying": I am learning how to drive.

When I turned 17 my parents gave me six driving lessons for a present. They were eventually redeemed by my brother when he turned 17, 2 years and 4 months later. My parents were disappointed. I was sorry they were disappointed. But I was not sad that I hadn't used the gift.

Up until now, I have not needed nor wanted to drive, so I have not learned. I lived in Christchurch and Fuchu-shi (Japan) and Melbourne, all of whom had public transport systems that went from "okay, mostly" to "superb, cleaned by people wearing white gloves." But my teaching job is in a place where a car would, finally, be very close to essential.

So I have to learn.

Five reasons being able to drive would be kinda cool:

1: I could buy a whole bunch of groceries at once!
2: Lugging piles of resources to school would be significantly easier on my back and shoulders.
3: I wouldn't have to check with people if I can get a ride to a thing that isn't within public transport + walking reach, and turn down the thing/take a taxi if no ride was available.
4: Road trips! I like those! I could offer to spell the driver!
5: If there was an emergency I could drive someone someplace, although frankly I would not put me behind the wheel in an emergency unless there was absolutely no other option whatsoever.

Ten reasons driving is super awful:

1: So bad for the environment. Like, ridiculously, terribly bad.
2: I will need to acquire an exercise regime beyond "walk places".
3: A CAR WEIGHS ABOUT FIVE HUNDRED TIMES MORE THAN A TODDLER AND IF I HIT A TODDLER WITH A CAR THEY WILL DIE AND I WILL CARRY THAT GUILT FOREVER.
4: Ugh cars are so expensive to buy and upkeep and fill with petrol.
5-10: SEE REASON THREE.

I acquired my learner license on Tuesday. My Fabulous Sister has given me two ten-minute lessons in an empty parking lot, because that's about as much panic-stricken babbling is fair to unleash on her in a session:

Me: "Okay, I'm stopping, gently, gently, I turn on the indicators, I check my mirrors, I turn the wheel a bit, I put my foot on the accelerator, I turn more TURN MORE TURN MORE."
She: "You're fine, now straighten up."
Me: "It's NOT STRAI- okay, I slow down a bit, I - OMG ANOTHER CAR IS COMING INTO THE PARKING LOT."
She: "You're fine, just make sure you stay to the-"
Me: "No, nope, I'm just going to stop and wait for it to go. THIS IS SCARY."
She: "No, it's not! You're being negative again!"
Me: "DID I NOT TELL YOU ABOUT THE TODDLER?"

I'll get there. I have to learn, so I will. But at the moment, my driving life is a slow* disaster movie.


* Very, very slow.

Date: 2013-11-07 12:20 pm (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
I still don't have my license, but I did learn to drive, and eventually while on my Ls I could drive on three lane highway with trucks and not feel like the world was going to end. [ETA: that's 3 lanes in each direction, 6 in total.]

On the "So bad for the environment. Like, ridiculously, terribly bad" front, once you get settled in at new job, you could find out about car pooling with people. Which might diminish your guilt.
Edited Date: 2013-11-07 12:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-11-07 02:17 pm (UTC)
derryderrydown: (Default)
From: [personal profile] derryderrydown
This sounds exactly like me when I started learning, six months ago. But I passed my test three months ago, and now I can be on the road with other cars without panicking! I still haven't ventured onto the motorway though. That thing is scary.

Date: 2013-11-07 05:44 pm (UTC)
zeborah: Zebra standing in the middle of the road (urban)
From: [personal profile] zeborah
I haven't learned yet, because taking the time for lessons etc has always been down the priority list compared to other things when the bus system's perfectly workable. There are disadvantages as you mention, another of which is continually having to explain yourself to the incredulous. Drives me up the wall.

But another advantage that makes up for everything for me: on the bus, you can read or write or sleep while the bus driver continues cheerfully (more likely than not cheerfully, anyway) to chauffeur you to your destination. I'm told they frown on you falling asleep when you're driving your own car!

Date: 2013-11-07 05:44 pm (UTC)
starlady: (orihime)
From: [personal profile] starlady
What people don't really talk about is that driving involves a lot of muscle memory, and so you'll still be in a phase after you get your license in which your body hasn't learned everything yet and you'll be right to be cautious. But you can do it! And then you can look for a carpool. ;)

Date: 2013-11-07 06:21 pm (UTC)
gingicat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
I wish I didn't have to drive, but my day involves travel between two small cities outside Boston that are only theoretically on the same transit system.

I learned to drive at the age of 19; I *had* to drive nearly every day between the ages of 21 and 25; I didn't own a car between the ages of 26 and 30.

Does your neighborhood/metropolitan area have something similar to Zipcar?

Date: 2013-11-08 03:26 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I learned to drive at age 26 when I moved to a rural area with no public transport. There is a lot to learn, but eventually your body and brain will become comfortable with it, just like any other skill you have learned, and it will be vastly less stressful. But for now, you are totally right to be slow and cautious!

Date: 2013-11-08 05:13 am (UTC)
metaphortunate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] metaphortunate
Just try to drive mostly on highways. Very few toddlers walking around on highways!

Date: 2013-11-08 07:51 am (UTC)
wordweaverlynn: (green road)
From: [personal profile] wordweaverlynn
I didn't learn to drive until I was 24. After a few months of terror -- I'm slow at learning new physical skills -- I adjusted. Soon it became a great pleasure.

Date: 2013-11-09 08:06 pm (UTC)
fadeaccompli: (risky)
From: [personal profile] fadeaccompli
I learned to drive at 21, and absolutely hated driving for years. And then slowly I learned to like driving on road trips, but nowhere else for even more years. (I do not worry much about Toddler In Road issues when driving on interstates for three hours at a stretch.) It's only about this last year that I've slowly started to not hate driving.

Mind, I still don't like it. Ten plus years of driving, and I still am no big fan. But now it's just a mildly neutral chore (if there's not too much traffic and no rain and it's not dark out), like taking out the trash or doing the laundry.

Driving! It is merely tedious after a decade of practice!
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