Thursday, December 13

Driving Lesson # 1

I wish I'd been tape recording my first driving lesson, so that I could give you a tally on the number of times my driving instructor told me: "breathe" and then "breathe, relax, check your mirrors, stop clutching the wheel, breathe."

Learning to drive is just like any other big navigational movement -- walking, swimming, dancing -- it takes awhile before the movements are natural, instinctual, automatic. It's a bit humiliating to find something so very difficult...and then have the realization that Britney Spears, the Hilton sisters, and co all manage to drive on a daily basis. Maybe sometimes against the direction of traffic, but still. They're doing something on vicodin and booze that I have trouble doing while flat sober.

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My first driving lesson is in Chelsea, at lunch hour. You might think that's a better time than morning or evening rush hour, but it mostly means dealing with illegally double-parked trucks making deliveries. Since the two scariest things right now are shifting lanes and making right turns, this is not so good. As well as delivery trucks, I also encounter:
  • a homeless man on a bike with all his (apparently not so) meager possessions strapped on to the back, biking the wrong way on a one way street
  • cobblestones in the meatpacking district -- they make the car bumpy and swervy
  • emergency vehicles going down 17th street. When I pull over to the right, I'm fearful of getting too close to the parked cars. Of scraping. Of knicking. I have no insurance.
  • 15 billion jaywalking pedestrians
  • one crazed pedestrian who feels that I'm too close to him -- I'm not! -- and pounds on the car with his fist while I'm coming out of my right turn. This causes me to come to a abrupt stop, and then be grateful no one was turning behind me. The car is not for the knockin', sir.

Thursday, December 6

Most Responsible Drunk Driver Ever

Last night I had a few drinks called "pink drinks" that were served in pint sized glasses. Everyone kept asking what exactly was within the pinkness. "Well, you start with half a glass of vodka, add some sprite, and then top it all off with grenadine. Or cranberry juice. Whichever, just so long as it's pink."

Although I am not old enough for the medicare offers that keep coming in the mail (26! Not 62!), I am old enough to know when a drink is a disaster. And yet I had two. And then a few more delicious beverages. I don't want to belabor this, because Thursday night quarterbacking of Wednesday night's drinking is boring. The important thing is to know that I was scheduled this morning for my first driving lesson.

And so at 4:40 AM, when I woke up so parched that I could swear my body was only 89% water instead of 98%, my overwhelming worry was that I would still be drunk come my 8:30 lesson. I just sat through the five hour driving class, which is mainly devoted to the evils of drinking & driving, and the benefits of seat belts, so I am as fully aware and educated about the dangers of alcohol as I will ever be.

Which also means that I knew coffee, hot shower, cold shower would do nothing for me potential drunkenness. So instead I tossed and turned my way 'till the morning only to have my instructor call me and cancel the class. Although I'm still an idiot when it comes to beverage selection, this bodes well for my future as a non-drunken driver. I think.