There are many things that I aspire to. Being less oc, being able to play a musical instrument properly (I have absolutely no sense of rhythm – I can’t even clap in time to music), being able to understand contemporary dance, not knowing all the words to every Meatloaf song and eating my weight in crab (see, it really doesn’t take a lot to make me happy). What I don’t aspire to however, is driving in America!
It’s a little bit like my ‘to-do-list’. I have a list (which I have had for years) of what I call my ‘top 5 fabo jobs to achieve’ and I have just double checked it and guess what. Driving in America was definitely not written on it ANYWHERE!! Actually there are only two things left on my list. One is side-car racing (me being the monkey not the driver) and the other is storm chaser. Now both of these I haven’t achieved……..yet!
Driving here in America is a skill and I did receive some very sage advice from Grasshopper before I left Australia. Grasshopper’s advice: Right is tight. Left is long and keep up with the traffic otherwise you will get booked for driving too slowly.
That advice was great and in hindsight, very helpful. Well in theory it was great. Actually doing it, driving here, is something else again. Now I know that in Australia I am considered a good driver. Cautious and capable and considerate. That’s my driving in a nut shell (plus I always drive little cars: cute, turn on a penny, zip about, economical little cars) NOT hulking great cars as per sold and driven here in the states. Why is everything so BIG in America! Therein my driving today was not what I would consider my finest hour!
Everything is bigger in America!
Anyway, back to my good driving habits for just a moment. I like to drive (in Australia) and I tend to take more of a gentle approach when behind the wheel. Music on and off I toddle. Nice, happy and relaxed as all drivers should be! I give way, I’m as happy as a clam, I don’t road rage, I sing along (badly) to the music on the stereo and all is good with the world. My hand will gesture ‘after you’ as I let someone in then the other driver smiles and gives a ‘thank you’ wave. Look at that, I’ve made someone’s day just by being courteous. See, happy happy!! And may I point out I have been driving for years.
Today however, that all changed. It was horrific. Today I was like the get away driver in a bad D grade British movie. Here’s how it went: Me behind the wheel…on the other side of the car which was on the other side of the road!!! Both hands on the wheel, swerve, swerve (insert expletive!!), swerve, brake (insert expletive!!!). Indicate – the windscreen wipers come on – turn wipes off and they go faster…..after the third time insert looooong expletive. And may I state I also have one of the cleanest windscreen’s in Georgia! Frown. Scowl. I am not my happy driving self. Swerve, dodge other ‘crazy, what the hell were they thinking’ drivers who DO NOT indicate (that is correct – I also have to be a mind reader). These people drive like they are on steroids, no doze and moonshine while TALKING on their cell’s. And yes! It is legal to talk on your cell (mobile) here while driving. What a stupid and puzzling law. Scowl more…now I have a permanent frown line!! Brake, but actually go through a red light to yield to the right (another strange law and there are plenty of them here: fireworks are illegal but sure carry a gun or three and that’s just the children!!! ), remember right is tight and left is long. KEEP DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BLOODY ROAD!!!
Now I’m not good with change and I will be very truthful in stating that I can be a little unpleasant when change occurs that I have no control over…..plus I like driving in Australia VERY much…did I say that earlier!!! And America is LARGE, you need to drive to get around. There is no way out of this. I can’t just ignore it. I have to drive!!! The town we now live in is spread out. You need a car to get around – there is no public transport/and you just don’t just walk around here. Plus to get my Georgian licence (in order to drive and get insurance) I will also be required to do a written test in two parts/eye test/and driving test which consists of a reverse parallel park AND I am going to be doing this in a car much larger than I have ever driven before (in my lifetime!!!).
And trust me when I say the cars here are big.
Big truck, little…….man!
Even the law like em big!
The locals! Please don’t ask!
Just big…too big for me anyway
Seriously, today I drove like a psychotic hillbilly on crack! Was it traumatic – YES!! Was it enjoyable – NO!! What was the stress factor – OFF THE FREAKING RICHTER SCALE!!! It would also be safe to say I have hung up my driving gloves……only momentarily though because I’m no quitter.
Will I master the art of driving safely in America? Probably, but it will also probably take about three years which also happens to be the length of time we are posted to Georgia for.
Trouble is, when I get back home I will have to learn to drive all over again…….on the ‘right’ side of the road in a nice little car!