I got the call at 7:30pm. 

“Meet me at Ashley and Archer, ” he said.

It was dark, very dark. The enormous, silver, diesel, she-beast sat in the carport waiting for me. Naked…no plates. But that didn’t matter because it was dark, very dark.

I strapped my trusty sidekicks into our new silver bullet and then attempted to enter the vehicle confidently, but on the wrong side. My second attempt was more successful but equally disconcerting. Everything felt wrong. Windshield wipers where the turn signal should be; my left hand suddenly responsible for all the most important tasks, i.e. shifting, stereo manipulation, air conditioning… With very little experience and no “rego” I was an outsider and an outlaw.

I rolled out slow on the creep tip with track nine settin the tone in the background T-Town style.

“They see me rollin, they’re hatin, patrollin, tryin to catch me ridin dirty…try to catch me ridin dirty, try to catch me ridin dirty, tryin to catch me ridin dirty”

Paranoia raged within me like a stoned teenager. The soundtrack somehow helped though. And when I saw my man approaching I rolled down my window so he could hear our rebel anthem. He nodded. I nodded back. _______

My next excursion did not go as well.

In order to register a vehicle, one must get a green slip (insurance) a blue slip (auto inspection) and a pink slip (from the DMV which is called the RTA). A gal from down the street was nice enough to let me follow her to Castle Cove so I could obtain said Blue Slip. The drop off was without incident, but picking up the car proved dangerous.

I packed Chaylee and a carseat in the pram and picked up Kenna from Kindie and walked 1km to the mechanic. This time I would have to take the car into rush hour on my own. I took a wrong turn within 5 blocks.

Bollocks!

I found a landmark I was familiar with and got back on track.

Bloody great!

Jane, a friend from down the street happened to pull up behind me as I drove (still dirty) carefully down the crowded street. Her presence brought minimal comfort and a great deal of pressure. I must perform. I must let her know that her children are still safe to walk about in the neighborhood with me on the road, I thought.

Nearly home, I sat patiently on Penshurst waiting to take a right (which is akin to taking a left at home). The cars kept coming and coming. The sun was piercing and distracting. Panic begin to seize me…

Jane is waiting. They all think I am a terrible driver. I have not plates. Is that a cop? Grow some balls Hev. Come on! Just turn right. There’s a gap…go, go, go….

And go did I. Straight into the right lane…the wrong lane.

There I sat frozen, staring into the young man’s eyes whom I nearly struck head on. I pleaded with him like a deranged mime begging him to back up so that I could get off Penshurst and experience my shame and total loss of confidence in the quiet of my own culdesac. He obliged, stunned and curious. I rolled down my window and shouted in my most apologetic voice…

“I’m sorry. I’m American!” Once again representing my nation with dignity and grace.

Jane consoled me from her automobile and I pretended to be fine. I wasn’t. As she headed on her way I started to cry. Kenna caught on quickly and attempted to reassure me.

“Don’t worry Mom. We all have accidents. Sometimes I pee.”

I laughed briefly and then proceeded to cry some more. The crying continued off and on throughout the evening. Peaking when I picked up Mr. Pasley from the train station. My wingman Michael “Maverick” Pasley offered to drive home and I suggested I turn in my wings.

Click on this link for dramatization:

Pray for me dear ones. I am homesick and longing for the peace of mind that comes with knowing how to friggin drive.

Poll: Would you rather:
a. walk through your neighborhood virtually naked in a storm
b. reveal your buttocks whilst at the park
c. humiliate yourself on the open road by driving on the wrong side of the street in traffic.

Trivia: In the early years of English colonization of North America, English driving customs were followed and the colonies drove on the left. After gaining independence from England, however, they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past and gradually changed to right-hand driving. The first law requiring drivers to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, and similar laws were passed in New York in 1804 and New Jersey in 1813. Only 1/3 of the world drives on the left. (Wikipedia) America, a truly independent nation!

Words of the day:
Figjam : “F*ck I’m good; just ask me”. Nickname for people who have a high opinion of themselves.
Seppo: An American
Cockroach: Someone from NSW

I use to think I was a Figjam Seppo, but now all the Cockroaches know this drongo doesn’t know how to drive worth a darn.

Family Fact: Chaylee loves vegamite. Kenna does not. Chaylee walks, sort of.

Love to all. Pray for safe travels with me behind the wheel…if I can bring myself to ever drive again.

One thought

  1. o, the exhausting concentration required to learn to drive on the wrong side of the road – it is a harsh memory – i made LOTS of mistakes too – all of them lifethreatening – some so bad they are firmly erased from my mind! i am so relieved it’s all automatic now! am really keen to know how you cope when you return to the states – will it be just as bad do you think, learning to drive on the old side when all your automation is for the aussie side?? i remember grading myself as ‘making progress’ when i could tune into the children again with all their needy whinging from the backseat. for awhile i just couldn’t multitask while driving and it’s so debilitating when you have kids, heh!! i truly think driving was the biggest challenge (and hence the biggest exhilaration whenever you get it right) for my move so far! (But i still have friendships ahead of me on the list – haven’t faced that one yet! and you licked that one Heather, my beloved!)

    Like

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