30 July 2010

Recounting First Day Driving

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Ready To Drive: Photo of Me with Posh Crash Helmet and Safety Glasses

When I woke up on my second day in England, I was gripped by the panic of driving. My hubby was going to work the next day, and I would need to drive for errands, grocery shopping, etc. Grab the horns of that big bull!

We bought a used SUV for a variety of reasons - I like to drive up high so I can see better; we can shuttle more kids; better for long trips. What we didn't realize was that it would cost $150 to fill the gas tank!!

First of all, I don't have the mountains as a marker to indicate which direction I'm driving. On cloudy days, I don't have the sun either. My guess is villages popped up throughout the countryside and spiderweb-like bridal paths connected them. So I find it very difficult to get my bearings. Even my satellite navigation system is often confused or frustrated. But we do our best!

Let's Just Say This Is What I Drive, Because I Wish I Did
Nissan Figaro

Anyhoo, we needed to buy a TV in a town 20 minutes away. This was my first time to drive on the wrong side, or as they say, 'the right side'.  Fortunately our car is automatic, otherwise the stick shift would be in the left hand. I took a deep exhale and we were off ('Mommy, why are you always breathing like that?' referring to my Mommy Exhales).

So I started the car, and with my right hand I went to put the gear into reverse. But that turned on my wipers. Oops, use left hand for gears. Then I started backing out and realized my turning radius was not so hot, so I jumped the curb and almost hit my neighbor's car. Went into drive and swerved trying to figure out where the heck I was supposed to be.

'Concern' started to creep in when I had to get on a busy street. Along the way we went through many two lane roundabouts, which were VERY busy. The mere g-force of being in that darn thing made us all yell, and wouldn't you know it, we got spat out at the right place every time. Miraculous! Yet accompanied by 'Don't hit that car/ person/ curb/ motorcycle!'


At several points, the road turned narrow. Cars were parked along my side, which gave me only half a street to drive on. I straddled the line as cars came the other way, feeling like a game of 'Chicken'. With a long line of cars behind me, I pushed on, practically peeking through hand-covered eyes. Who could bear to watch? I literally thought I was going to throw up. My hubby said my face was flush, I was sweating, and I definitely needed a paper bag for hyperventilation. Skydiving and bungee jumping seemed safer than this.

And the kids? They kept saying, 'Please let Daddy drive. Please?!'  Poor, sweet things. And my hubby may have sprained a muscle from failed attempts to slam on the brake on the passenger side.

Once we arrived at the parking structure, we all took a Mommy Exhale together. Just like when your roller coaster ride is over and you come to the stop and it is time to get off. You survived.

We bought the TV and my hubby drove us home, to everyone's relief, and I took a huge nap. Neurons were firing that had been dormant for decades. But I have to say driving has been a bit of a snap ever since. Now I can check that big bull off my list : ) Mission accomplished.

Wanting more? See my other posts here

XO
Laura

5 comments:

The Loeckens said...

Seriously, I laughed so hard at this one I had tears in my eyes. This is SO true. Why do they make roads that two cars don't fit on?!?

Brandi said...

Oh my sounds scary for a first-timer!! Glad you made it to your destination safely!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Impressive, Laura, very very impressive. I am afraid I would have to become a hermit.
Fondly,
Glenda

LiSa said...

I've been living in the UK several years now and still haven't plucked up the courage to drive! I luckily live with in walking distance of a grocery store and with a bus stop outside my front door to take me to town I've managed for now! But with my eldest starting school next Sept and my youngest starting nursery I'm going to have to suck it up sooner then later!! I am a little gutted I missed my year driving on an American license as now I think I'll have to start from scratch to get my UK one.
At least I know it can be done!! ;0) you are much braver then I am!
x Lisa@AnAmericanBakerinEngland

Happy Homemaker UK said...

@Lisa - you would have to start from scratch regardless, so it would have mattered :)