Thursday, May 3, 2007

Driving Along In My Automobile

“Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo.”

Love that quote. OK, let’s talk about driving (how's that for a segue way?):

Um, I’m not good at it.

OK, that pretty much sums it up. Thanks for your time! But seriously, I’m a very, very, very, very, very bad driver. I mean, I’m the sort of driver who returns home after running to the store and announces, ‘I didn’t get in an accident!’ And I’m congratulated.

Now maybe you’re thinking, ‘Redhead’s exaggerating.’ But you’d be wrong. I’m not. I’m really not. Perhaps some stories will help explain the situation. Hmmm, where to begin…

Well, there was the first time I rear-ended someone – because I didn’t notice the red light they were stopped at until it was too late. Or the second time I rear-ended someone – because I didn’t notice the red light they were stopped at until it was too late (although at least the weather was bad that time). Or the time I drove my mom’s SUV through a fence outside the video store – it appears I had the car in drive instead of reverse while pulling out of the parking spot. Oops.

Hell, I ran a red light – didn’t notice it – on my way to my driving test when I was 16! (Passed the test with flying colors by the way.) And the tree right next to the driveway at my parents’ house? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve swiped it.

Shockingly though, it was my college boyfriend who totaled the car that got me though most of my driving years – a cute little red car I had named Monty. The fact that I wasn’t the one to kill Monty was a relief (and probably shocked the shit out of the car – you know, if Monty could think). He was a good car. He was my first car. He was my last car too – my dad refused to get me another one after that (smart man), and I sure as shit was not going to spend my money on one (smart Redhead).

In other words, it’s not an accident (no pun intended) that I now live in a city that relies on public transportation. As a (relatively) bright and responsible person, I recognized long ago that I can't drive, and so I avoid doing it. I don’t lie to myself and say I’ve just had bad luck. I admit my faults and move on.

And my main fault would be (driving wise) that I don’t seem to be very observant. I tend to miss things like stop signs, red lights, exits, posted speed limit signs, other cars, and cops. (Probably the craziest thing of all is that I have a perfect driving record. I have been able to cry/coerce my way out of every prospective ticket/accident report that’s come my way. How scary is that?)

The number of potential accidents/close calls that I’ve narrowly avoided over the years are too numerous to count. Of the ones that actually did happen, you guys only got some highlights. Let’s just say I don’t handle getting lost very well – my already poor driving skills deteriorate when I’m stressed/trying to find my way somewhere – and leave it at that.

But again, I recognize my shortcomings and practically never drive. And when I do, it’s normally only for short distances in my mom’s large SUV. I feel safer in it (not so sure about the rest of the world, but hey, what can you do?).

So what’s the point of this post? Well, my sister’s coming up to see my parents this weekend, and she’s bringing her car – we’re all going to celebrate an early Mother’s Day. And her car is a stick. I can’t drive a stick (I can’t drive an automatic all that well either, but at least an automatic never makes that horrible sound when the gears are grinding – and the smell when the tires are burning…what?).

Anyway, my sister has informed me that she is willing to give me another stick-shift lesson (the last one was years ago on an older car of hers – and it didn’t go well). On her nice, new, BMW convertible. And I’m nervous. Because I tend to do bad things behind the wheel. And my sister seems to have temporarily gone insane and forgotten this fact.

I mean, fuck – this is how families are torn apart.


onthevirg said...

It sounds as if your sister is going to be making a call to her insurance and visiting Hertz very, very soon. I'm sorry to hear about a brand new Beemer facing imminent destruction. Those are sweet rides. Should I just say it now? "Nice work dicking up your sister's ride Redhead."

Redhead said...

Hey! She's bringing it upon herself.

TK said...

Hey, everyone has their faults. In 2005 I went through THREE cars. Yes, three. And I'm a decent driver. Don't be too hard on yourself.

It's all about confidence. And paying attention.

Mostly paying attention.

Redhead said...

Yeah, I'm not so good at paying attention. Yet I STILL get pissed at other drivers all the time (when I notice them). Why don't we just call me Hypocrite from now on?

Jez said...

You're going to drive a stick in NYC? Really, you're sister is nuts.

Redhead said...

Good God, not in New York - we did it in Jersey (where my parents live). I can't imagine the damage I would do in NY while driving an automatic. A stick would be...(shudder).