Here’s A Post About Learning To Drive

Around August last year, in response to one of my then-not-infrequent bouts of handwringing but-what-shall-I-doery, a friend and sometime mentor of sorts suggested that I should get my license, buy a kombi and go on a road trip around the country. I wasn’t sure about the roadtrip or the kombi, but the learning-to-drive idea seemed a good one. The hassles of getting around Melbourne on public transport sealed the deal; I got my Ls in February and have started taking lessons.

I had my third proper session out on the road yesterday. It’s very weird. I wonder to what extent it feels weird because of my age (28). Unsurprisingly, all of VicRoadslearner driver promo material is leveled squarely at a teen demographic.

In some ways it’s much easier than I’d expected, in some ways a lot harder. I’m starting to feel more comfortable on the roads but I still have great difficulty assimilating all the information you have to process simultaneously. Successfully co-ordinating the accelerator and the clutch is also proving a challenge. I stalled three times yesterday. I half wonder if I shouldn’t just learn on an automatic. But I’m jaundiced by my mother’s consistent assertion that they’re “not real cars”.

My instructor is this rather stern and incredibly worldweary old French guy called Moshe. He spends a disconcerting amount of time during our lessons playing with his Treo, but he’s always on hand to grab the steering wheel when I’m just about to kill a cyclist or slam on the breaks before I plough into the back of a police van. I like him.

Here’s a nice article by Suzanne Vega, of all people, about learning to drive on the streets of New York City at the age of 43.

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4 Responses to Here’s A Post About Learning To Drive

  1. Ahh is so reassuring to find a fellow ‘late bloomer’ with the car thing.
    I practise very infrequently. I feel that if I practised more frequently I’d increase my chances of doing serious damage to myself or others.
    The other day I was driving back from Bendigo when I seriously nearly ran down a hitch hiker. Not just “Oh! That was close!” but really I nearly ran him down at 100km… It took xadey boy a good while to convince me that I hadn’t actually hit his thumb… Stupid driving…

  2. constance

    wow- i can’t imagine not driving as a teenager… but i do love public transportation….

  3. I love public transport too. I love the trams in this town. I had the craziest tram driver on the way home from last night’s little soiree de Cam. Kept up a running commentary the whole way. I think the boredom of being a tram driver had sent him quite out of his mind, but he was funny as hell. Relying on p/t is a hassle though. Melbourne’s so big. I am going to the airport tomorrow, it will take me like, two hours. I got stranded in the CBD the other night coz there were as far as I could ascertain no trams or buses running to where i live after 12:30 etc
    Jojo – :D; stupid hitch hikers. He’s probably just lucky you didn’t pick him up and kidnap him and hack him up into tiny pieces.
    Not that you would do anything like that etc. Do you gots yr Ps yet or are you still a learner?
    I am at my engaged sister’s house with her and her boyfriend to whom she is getting married and I am *so* tired. Now I will have to get a tram home. Hope I don’t fall asleep waiting on Brunswick St. Even if I could drive, I would be waay too tired right now.

  4. Ha! P’s?! That really would be dangerous.
    I pulled over and told xade to drive right after I *swerved* and nearly hit an oncoming car. I nearly swerved into it…
    And I wouldn’t hack him into tiny pieces… I would weight him and dump him in the ocean. 😉

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