Sunday, February 13, 2011

Behind The Wheel...

.:Behind The Wheel...:.

I'm a bucket of nerves, and panic's setting in. My dad looks at me, and explains to me what each pedal is for, and why I should hit the clutch before I ever shift gears.

27 years of being on this planet, and I never even bothered learning how to drive.

While almost every other guy I know dreams of having a car to drive, I long to be able to afford having a driver. I think I was like this from the moment I was a kid. Why drive when you can hire someone to do it for you? Except I realized that at some point, I would really need to learn how to drive.

I think back to the times my friends would go out drinking and I'd be the only one who wouldn't have a drop of alcohol in me by the end of the night. Yet someone else will be doing the driving. Thank heavens none of my friends have ever ended up in an accident after hanging out with me or I'd be insanely guilty about not being there as a designated driver when that's what they needed.

A week ago, I already had a car. But seeing as my mom's back from the States, that's kind of up in the air at the moment. But all of that's beside the point. What's important is for the first time in my life, I'm genuinely behind the wheel of a car I'm supposed to drive.

I can't even pretend I played enough Gran Turismo to know what I was doing. I never got into driving, even make-believe driving. Not even with bumper cars. Oh, sure, it was fun, but I never actively went to an arcade with the express intent of driving the bumper cars.

I look carefully and check that I'm set on neutral. My handbrake is up. I turn the key and the horseless carriage neighs gently. I think back to the ten minutes worth of lessons so far...

Hold the clutch, shift to first gear.

Keep holding the clutch, release the handbrake.

Hit the gas ever-so-gently.

If you hear the engine revving a wee bit too loud, you're hitting the gas too hard.

Release the clutch slowly until the car is moving.

Wait. Dad, you didn't tell me anything about steering, and I'm going diagonally now!

Homina, homina. I break into a cold sweat. Maybe I'm too old to try learning how to drive now? Watching everyone else drive, it all seems so instinctive to them. To me, this is like learning how to play Street Fighter II the first time - except with your life on the line if you don't learn it right.

My dad smiles, and then reminds me to gently hit the clutch and shift from the gas to the brakes as I approach the truck parked in front of our house in what would be a minor head-on collision at first gear. Thankfully, my reflexes don't betray me and I don't accidentally floor the gas instead of the brakes.

I grin in spite of myself, then my left foot instinctively leaves the clutch. The car shuts off, and I realize that there are still some things I need to learn before I even learn how to turn.

Maybe next week, then.


skysenshi said...

It's a start. :)

Sacha Chua said...

I'm still learning how to drive. =) But I've scheduled my road test for June, so I had better get the hang of parking before then!

When I feel particularly nervous, I remind myself that 16-year-olds can do this. That helps.

Good luck!

Marcelle said...

@skysenshi: A rocky one, but yeah, a start, nonetheless.

@Sacha: Wait, what? I thought you already knew how to drive? LOL.