Speed. I am speed.
Nope, not a junkie, thank you very much. This is the opening line to one of my all-time favorite Disney flicks Cars (2006). I initially wanted to quote from Speed Racer (2008) but all I remember is “You drive because you’re driven,” a line I find totally sappy and feel-goody. Hence, Lightning McQueen’s mantra seems most apt for me and my newfound relationship with… driving! Yes, you read right! As part of my prima donna aspirations, I swore that I won’t ever step on a gas pedal in my life and now I’m actually sitting behind the wheel and liking it! I’m no Jason or Anne (who can outdrive anyone in road rage) yet but getting out of Commonwealth without so much as a scratch after only seven days on vroom-vrooming is something short of a miracle! Especially since I have the worst hand-eye coordination, the shortest attention span, and I panic faster than you can say “brake!”
Jason, the best driving teacher (seriously, if ever he runs out of his endless career options, A1 Driving School would welcome him with open arms), has been wonderfully accommodating. I can’t sit here and play perfect student. Every time I bollix, he’ll yell, scold, grimace, and warp into a stern, pepper-haired, kitten-heel wearing high school English teacher. But I braved his ridiculous braved eyebrow and now I’ve learn so much. In fact, in the risk of making his head larger than usual, I don’t think I’d learn half as much if I had somoeone else. Many thanks also to Anne whom I’ve been bugging with clarifications about the immensely profound art of clutch and stick shift.
I think the worst mistake I’ve ever done to date was suddenly slamming the brakes. Jason, who was busy manning my uncoordinated play of car thingamajigs, was caught in the jolt and banged cheek-first into the windshield. He was perfectly nice about it but if I’d hit his nose, I don’t think he (or his mom) would be as forgiving.
I’ve only driven along the open road twice since getting my permit and so far so good. I decided to write my beginner-driver-tips here just so I won’t forget and to help fellows who are just being introduced to (manual/stick) road raging!
1. The brake is your best friend. According to Jason, I only need to really master two things when driving—staying inside the proper lane and braking. There’s a kitten on the road, brake! You’re too near another car, brake! Closing in on a curve, brake slowly. Braking prevents any major booboos.
2. Driving in reverse conjures long forgotten physics lessons and math skills. It also takes note of your level of common sense… I realized I barely have any. Driving in reverse is pretty much the same as moving forward. Go right, turn the wheel to the right; the same with the left. But if you’re driving to turn 180 degrees, turn the wheel in the direction opposite to where you want the car to go.
Complicated? I know! Here’s a simpler tip I got from YouTube: Drive to the right, you turn the wheel to the left and vice versa!
3. Contrary to Alicia Silverstone’s assertion in Clueless that everywhere we go has valet, the Philippines has yet to have such luxury. Parking is a rhymes-with-witch but an important skill to learn.
I’ll stop with three. Taking advice from a non-expert? Not cool! Not smart! Wahahaha! See you in Formula One Michael Schumacher!