Yep, that's my baby in the picture. He will be celebrating his first birthday in July 2010. How quickly time flies. I started off as a novice driver unsure of the turns or the angles, evident by the numerous scratches over the otherwise smooth body.
Riding a two wheeler for a long time had its own consequences. I had to unlearn gauging distances and negotiating turns in a four wheeler all over again by making costly mistakes. The worst nightmare was making the turn into my parking lot, which has just about the right space to park. My reverse is even worse. So every time I made a sharp turn, there was a sharp scratch on Bobo. But he was patient with me all through the ordeal.
Driving also requires immense patience and I am the impatient kind. So at one point, I absolutely did not enjoy driving at all. But with the help of friends and a lot of practice, I have come a long long way. As someone rightly put it, "what we learnt over a 20 year period, you are trying to master it in two days"!
I can now confidently steer the car anywhere except for my sense of direction, which is terribly poor. I need a lot of help getting to a place, but eventually I know I will make it. I enjoy my driving trips now, but I still have a lot to fine tune like my reverse and need for speed that needs to be curbed. I guess when you have been on the road for a long time, you develop a sense of understanding of yourself and your vehicle. You know when you are pushing the limit and you need to stop.
Like today, my friend's mom was suddenly feeling unwell and had to be taken to the doctor right away. I was roped in to drive her since no one was around immediately. But the feedback from the patient and the entourage was that they felt I was too rash, even though my steering was in perfect control. I had decided to overtake a car and a bus came from the opposite direction, not giving me any choice but to make a quick cut and move ahead, and that freaked everyone out. Guess, it was crazy!
But when your gut says you can go for it, you just go for it and it usually works fine. I am not stupid about it, but confident that my baby and I will do fine. I also need to work on changing gears smoothly; its not good enough yet.
The driving school instructors usually teach you to drive barefoot, which is a terrible mistake. On long drives, your thumb can become really sore and you may lose your grip. So practice as much as possible to drive with your footwear. Vee made me drive for a while, after which, my confidence level slowly improved. Now, I am doing fine and as a habit use a comfortable footwear to drive the car and change into another pair at work (cos of the little heel). I still have so much to work on, but I know in time, I'll be good to go.
Driving or riding a vehicle is so empowering and it gives you a great sense of freedom. I have enjoyed it all through my life and I am certainly looking forward to driving jeeps, and maybe one day, a truck or a bus, just for the fun of it!
Bobo and I share a silent companionship. A sort of secret understanding between the two of us to watch out for each other on the road. Bringing him home last year was the proudest moment of my life. Every day, I love to see her gleaming body after a fabulous wash in the parking lot on my way to work.