I Am A Passenger… And I Ride And I Ride

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And I Ride, And I Ride...

And I Ride, And I Ride...

I have an ongoing love & hate relationship with cars. I like cars. They hate me.

It all started when I was 17. After I completed the compulsory 50 hours driving ed, I registered for the test.

The first time, I failed because I didn’t turn around a little painted dot at the middle of an intersection, although I did yield. It was supposed to be a roundabout. I apparently though it was modern art.

The second time, the instructor declared:

— I knew excessive speed was dangerous. But I never thought going this slow could be even more hazardous”.

See, it’s not I’m a bad driver. I’m just cautious.

I know the rules of the road very well – I passed the written test easily. But I never seem to know where I’m going when I’m driving. For some reason, when I’m in the passenger sit, I’m a perfect driver : I can anticipate, give advices, I see where I’m going and I enjoy the ride.

Totally different story when I my hands are on the wheel. To me, merging onto a freeway is what jumping in a circle of fire is to a circle and fire phobic person. I slow down, knowing that I’m not supposed to, one leg on the break and my hands tightly clutched on the wheel, I glance at my passenger and ask the dreaded question :

— Can I go ? Can I go ? Can I go ?

At this point, I have to justify part of my driving-disability by stating that I have a minor eye condition called blindness. The guilty one is my left eye. It doesn’t help when you’re trying to merge on a freeway in Canada where people usually drive on the right side of the road.

But if in the land of the blind the one-eyed is king, the blind in the left eye is a better driver in countries where you drive on the left side. I loved New Zealand and Australia.

First thing we’ve done in Auckland was to buy a second-hand car from a backpacker for 500$. It had a crack on the windshield and brakes smelled of burnt tires when we drove for too long, but I loved it. I didn’t take long for the Man to get used to driving on the left side so I was rather keen to try. Just to check if my curse could be reversed in the southern hemisphere.

But I didn’t know how to drive an automatic car. My first attempt was almost disastrous. I started the car, one hand on the stick and… and the car moved by itself. In front of us was a wall. Yes, I did find the breaks before crashing into it. I’m not that stupid.

Within minutes, I was driving on the road outside the city. I had discovered cruise control and couldn’t believe I bothered with manual cars before. For the first time of my life, I didn’t think of shifting gears or whether I was going to be able to get the damn car started after stopping at a red light !

— So, how am I doing ?
— Mmm… pretty good, but you’re driving on the wrong side of the road.

Shit. Well, I guess the car curse is still on, then.

Back in Canada, I can only be a seasonal driver. What, I’m not gonna drive in the winter, are you nuts ?

I enjoy the straight wide roads as much as I enjoy cruise control, but I’m still not comfortable enough to drive. I’m not even going into my parking skills. Oh well, I’ll never experience road rage, I guess…

Now if you’re nice, next time, I’ll talk to you about my experience with buses…


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I drive in the early morning and get tired easily.

    As for the site, I found it through rss of boingboing.com i believe…

    i’m sure it was that.

  2. Hey, I’m nearly blind in my left eye too, hurray! Does make merging onto freeways a bit trickier…

    Ya know, ya kinda sound like my cousin, I’m always a bit scared when I get in the car with her. But it’s kinda fun too, always an adventure…

    And my dad is a good driver, but he drives like a maniac, like we’re in a race, and usually I’m pretty cool with that, but he kinda scares me too sometimes…

  3. Princesse Ecossaise on

    I failed my driving test SIX times!! Six times, man. That’s bad. I still haven’t passed.

    It’s still a sore point…*boohoo!*

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  9. That is so me !
    I hate driving, it makes me so nervous I usually break down in tears at some point. I’ve tried a canadian automatic car, and they’re so easy to drive it’s indecent. No way I’m buying anything else if I ever buy a car.

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