Sunday, March 16, 2008

Driving Miss Black

For the last month or so I've been helping out my dear friend Miss Black by giving her some driving lessons in my car.

It's been equally an education for me as for her, I think. I've tutored people in maths and science for many years now, but there's a huge difference between doing geometry and differential equations sedately on a piece of paper and doing them instinctively while quarter- and half-tonne lumps of metal and glass whizz by you at twenty metres per second. Which is a lot faster than it sounds, especially when the lumps are being driven by Aussies.

For one thing, if you get something wrong and drive your car up the back of another car, you don't get to cross your answer out and do it again.

Not that Miss Black did anything like that -- although my car does have a few scrapes on the front bumper from a ninety-degree turn in an extremely narrow alley. How narrow? Well, let me just put it like this: after navigating in and out of the alley a few times, Miss Black is confident of her ability to drive a stretch Hummer through a revolving door without touching the sides.

So far we've had a couple of ... interesting ... experiences, like a couple of "No, not that left, your other left!" moments, a distressing tendency for her to check the wrong blind-spot, or to swivel her entire upper body so she can look directly out the rear windscreen when changing lanes, and the time I had to grab the steering wheel to stop the car from drifting across into on-coming traffic. (Actually, I make it sound more exciting than it really was. It was a very slow drift, and it was less a grab and more a gentle correction.)

But on the plus-side, Miss Black has exhibited a remarkable level-headedness on occasions when others might have panicked, like the time when the Temporary Australian decided that it was a great idea to step out from in front of a stopped bus, against the lights, without checking to see if there were cars coming. Miss Black managed to avoid the moronic pedestrian without swerving into the next lane, and continued on her way while I was still gibbering in shock. I'm glad she didn't hit him -- the police make you fill out paperwork if you do.

She's also very good at parallel parking. I'm finding it difficult to teach her how to parallel park, and that's not because I don't know how to do it myself, thank you Mrs Impala. Just last Tuesday, she surprised and amazed me -- in a good way -- with an expert example of trick parking. She went from a start position of angle-parked on one side of the road, and finished in a parallel-parked position on the other side of the road, in one smooth movement. Forget your three-point parks, this was a one-point turn and park, in reverse.


Admittedly the car ended up a smidgen further out from the curb than ideal, but I'm hardly going to complain about that.

1 comment:

G Eagle Esq said...

Meneer Vlad

It takes a Brave & Civicly-minded Antelope to seek to enlighten a Human on the occult mysteries of Driving

This Eagle's driving is so bad that he's been banned from teaching the Junior Eagles how to drive

Tot siens

G Eagle