I drove for the first time today! Julie took me into Emeryville in the wee morning hours, and I got behind the wheel in a big parking lot (parking lots occupy something like 75% of Emeryville’s surface area). There, observed by no one but Julie and several perplexed Toys ‘R’ Us employees, I drove around, tentatively at first but eventually working my way up to “kind of tentatively.” After a while, I drove a bit on surface streets in Emeryville and Oakland. I had one near accident (at one point I couldn’t find the brake pedal, but found the accelerator okay), and I rolled over one curb, but there were no catastrophes and my face will not be on the news tonight accompanied by the words, “..are still looking for the moronic driver of a red Dodge Neon.” Even when we accidentally ended up on a ramp that passed dangerously near the highway and other cars, I didn’t die.
So that gave me kind of a buzz. Actually, the buzz has lasted most of the day (it can’t all be the coffee I had this morning)–as pathetic as this will sound to you longtime drivers, I’m still struck by how little effort it takes to make a car accelerate, or turn, and I don’t yet trust myself to harness that safely (with good reason). At the same time, it’s exciting that, with the slightest pressure from my right foot, I immediately reach a speed it would take me thirty seconds to get to on a bike. So I regard the prospect of my next driving session with a mixture of excitement and dread.
The ultimate goal of my driving, of course, is to get to the level of comfort where I don’t feel compelled to write blog entries that are, to most of you, equivalent to descriptions of washing the dishes or making toast. Not there yet, though.