I am not a good driver. I don't think I am a particularly unsafe driver, but I am not good. I admit it. I am not particularly fond of driving. I occasionally like the fact that I am in control of the vehicle (as opposed to a smelly driver or a rapidly degenerating to unspeakable Tamizh curses road rage filled husband), and I like to be in control definitely of the Bollywood crap I blare from the radio, but I don't like it all too much.
The trend was set early. As soon as we turned sixteen, my best friend in school (March born) and I (April born) set off one fine day to the RTO. Sat around sweatily and got our learners permits. Then did the stipulated wait of whatever it was (six months? Not very sure anymore) and went back to get the actual license. This was for a bike of course. "Gearless Two Wheeler" they called it. A TVS Champ belonging to my sis was my poison, and a TVS 50 (I think it was called that) belonging to her father was hers. We had a fair bit more leeway with the Champ, because quickly, within a year of acquiring it, my sister lost interest in riding it, and was happy enough to sit behind and pass comments and give detailed feed-back.
So, this is where the trend comes in. I was ECSTATIC that she would allow me to ride her precious bike, and also a fair bit proud. But then, when she sat behind me, she noticed a definite tendency I have when I ride or drive. And that can be described as "an undeniable attraction to pot-holes." I still remember her one day, thoroughly irritated with this habit of mine, tell me when we reached home as I was (proudly) parking the thing, "You missed that one out there", sarcastic like no one's business. Airspy used to occasionally allow me her Champ in college. But I never rode it outside the campus so my deplorable habits were probably not obvious to her. The campus roads being real nice and all.
Everyone knows of course that the key to avoiding things like the seven year itch etc. are to learn your driving from a school. The most avoidable situation in a marriage is when the husband teaches the wife to drive. The opposite may work out okay, not sure, have my doubts, but this one is an absolute no-no. So I went to a school, several in fact. One in India where I drove a Maruti 800 pretty well. I was young. 21 years old. Unmarried. Then I had an old guy teach me in the US. He was nice. I was sucking it up a fair bit though, I got quite spooked with driving in the US though the determination to overcome it was strong.
And I still had to drive several times with the husband 'for practice.' That was horrid. He was a major pain. His style of driving and mine don't match. At all. He is aggressive. I am the opposite. People that would like to pass in front of me on the road are ALL welcome. He will move heaven and earth to ensure that you 'fuckers' don't mess with him. If you are walking and want to walk in front of my car, again, you are welcome. I will wait. (This he does too, especially if its women, even if ugly). I am never in a tearing hurry. He is always in a major big hurry to beat all hurries. If there is a chance to weave through a gap in the traffic, zip, zap, zoom, etc., I will ignore it. I don't need to. He will grab the opportunity with both hands. The way I argue it is, all that zipping and zapping might save me about three minutes of driving time, which is nice, but it will chip three days at least off my life span, which is sort not too desirable. I am not sure on his thoughts on life spans etc. I have also retained the tendency with pot-holes. Like my sister, he hates them and therefore avoids them through clever maneuvres.
A conversation with him, of late, in my new and improved, no temper tantrums state may go like this:
Him: Do you drive this route everyday?
Him: Then you KNOW that there is this giant big pot-hole here?
Me: Yes of course, I go into it everyday. One day it hurt my neck a bit.
Him: THEN WHY THE HECK CAN YOU NOT AVOID IT?
Me: See, in order to avoid it, I have to move into the right lane. But then I have to make a left turn, and nobody will allow me back into the left lane after that, so, I catch hold of the left lane well before the pot-hole place and just stick there.
Him: BUT THE LEFT TURN IS STILL 200 METERS AWAY
Me: Yes, just 200 meters. And so many trucks. And if a BEST bus honks, I totally flip out.
Him: Watch me pop a vein in my forehead. Chicks suck. Chicks make the WORST drivers ever.
Me: You should not generalise like that. I am special, you know it.
& so on. Ends in a fight. Gets ugly. I see his point sometimes, even my mum laughs because SO MANY people cut into my lane from all directions. But then I am cool. Crazy Kiya Re is on Mirchi so I am not too bothered, have to anyway wait for the song to finish. At any rate I have a 3 km radius within which I drive usually not more. The furthest is 10 km from home. And one trip to the airport in seven years in Mumbai.
Oh yeah, I have pathetic direction sense, am becoming fairly absent-minded befitting profession, can't see well when driving at night, and cannot for the life of me parallel park. All told, it is kind of a bummer that my driver, for all his faults, decided to go off to his village this week for good.