Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thrills and Chills

When I was young I would stay up late into the night reading by whatever light was available (lamp, flashlight, even by the dim glow of my Snugglebum). I could never get enough reading done and then, as now, I would read until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. Mind you, with Gretel on my hands this happens a bit earlier these days, but that is neither here nor there. Back in the day some of my favorite books were ghost stories. I lie there absolutely terrified but I couldn't stop reading -- and once that story was done I couldn't resist jumping into another one.

Today I felt that same kind of thrilling push, and this time it was due to adventure taking me over in real time. Yes, it was another day of practice driving excitement for me. I know this is old hat to you long time drivers but driving is a horrifying experience for a reluctant first timer. Yes, I've had some professional lessons and Joe is very sweet and patient and a great teacher himself, but the roads near our house require speeds from 15 mph (a perfectly reasonable pace for anyone, I say) to 50 mph. Beyond the rate of travel, my terror is threefold:
  • Curve after curve after curve. Do you remember what it's like trying to learn how to curve to the right? I always feel like I'm going to careen into oncoming traffic. And I swear to god, there are twice as many right curves than there are left no matter which direction I'm heading in.
  • Crazy drivers who are very familiar with the route. They do not hesitate to let me know that following me is no picnic. Sometimes (good grief) they even pass me. Freaks me right out.
  • On top of all this, we're driving up and down large hills/small mountains. Help me rhonda, the variations in my speed, but alas I have a terrible tendency to gaze lovingly at my spedometer. And also a tendency to veer while doing so. Joe has forbidden me to check my speed on a curve and discourages it on hillsides, such is my tendency to leave my lane altogether while examining just how quickly I'm accelerating as the car barrels down a slope.
Did I mention Gretel is hanging out in the backseat during these fun filled endeavors? She falls asleep no matter what the state of her parents in the front or the quality of the driving. Talk about adding chills to the whole experience. I tell you this, I have no more need of ghost stories in the dark -- these practice sessions provide as much thrilling, chilling excitement as I can handle. T-20 days until my test. Keep your fingers crossed and please be patient with the terrible driver in front of you the next time you're out driving. She may be doing the (terrible) best she knows how -- she might be me.


At 10/30/2005 11:28 AM, Blogger celeste said...

Wow..It must add to the stress that you're driving up and down hills. It's all flat lands where I'm from. But I do remember thinking that driving 50mph was just incredibly FAST when I was learning to drive. But that feeling went away and now I'm comfortably driving 60-70mph (legally...I think!) on expressways or interstate highways.

At 10/30/2005 11:28 AM, Blogger birdychirp said...

Well done with the driving - it is a scary thing to do but I guess a necessary skill to have. Will keep my fingers crossed for 20 days time!


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