driving and why i’m not good at it

17 Nov

listening to: the “furr” album by blitzen trapper

today i drove all the way from north carolina to pennsylvania. i recognize that an eight hour drive is nothing special to a bunch of driving savvy people out there. but undertaking an eight hour drive, for me, is a huge and daunting task.

first i am going to preface this post with:

the reason that i am not good at driving does not reflect me being a woman.

just wanted to put that out there to preface any woman+driving jokes. it just so happens that i am a woman and it just so happens that i do not like driving. i wouldn’t say that i am bad at the actual task of driving at all! i did good work back in driver’s ed (which basically means i was able to pay attention and write my name on the top of assignments), practiced parallel parking a lot of the drivers test (which i passed first try), and also passed my dutch drivers test first try (which was a luxury, and was one of the few kids at my international school with a license  since the driving age is 18 over there). but that’s about the end of my drivers pedigree.

one summer, my mother dedicated her time to teaching me to drive her manual transmission jetta sport wagon. this was perhaps one of the scariest and most humiliating spans of time in my life (not surpassed by middle school, however). this period of my life was short lived and ended when i stalled in the middle of a street of oncoming traffic. my little brother was in the car, and once we were safely out of the way and parked, he got out of the car and screamed at me how i would NEVER drive manual again since i was unable to keep his life safely guarded.

that was the end of my try at driving stick shift.

now i drive an adorable (and automatic) jetta. now, those who know me, know that i have an innate and overwhelming love and interest in everything. in fact, my top personality trait as per the VIA personality inventory is “appreciation of beauty.” that sounds nice, right? well its also incredibly unsafe and distracting when one is driving across the country! over mountains, under the clear blue sky, with crisp autumn leaves swirling around the road, wild turkeys grazing (do turkeys graze?!) in the median, the picturesque setting sun, between old-timey cotton fields, and the list goes on and on – where the least interesting and beautiful thing is the road that i am driving on. this problem results in me trying to capture this beauty while driving, and ends up with crappy car pictures being taken on my phone:

and yes, i realize how unsafe this is. but i cannot help it. and it’s even more hypocritical because i am so mean to people who drive and text or drive and facebook on their phones. even to my handsome, perfect boyfriend. no one is allowed to be cell-phoning while driving my car, or driving me! but somehow i rationalize that capturing beauty (poorly capturing beauty) is allowed.

and then from this beauty, more questions stem. “how is the sky blue?” my inner self will ask my outer self, and outer self will start trying to remember what i learned in school about atmospheres and then my knowledge of the ionosphere from my technical training will ramble on about the prc-150 and high frequency communication. before both my inner and outer selves know it, i will find myself in a state of deep anxiety about if the atmosphere quit and suddenly black outer space overtook the pretty blue sky and then a black hole swallowed our planet.

and then i’ll be reminded by rumble strips that i really need to simply focus on driving in a straight line.





One Response to “driving and why i’m not good at it”

  1. elockwood November 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    that photo looks like the land i love. …which sounded a little like the song, but i guess the song is famous for a reason :) xx

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