so another recent even of memorable nature was my first, ahem, car crash. it sounds really important and traumatic, but nothing like the above pic, which is just spectacular. it was sort of traumatic because... i never have crashed onto anything nor have been involved in auto accidents (well there were couple that i got mowed down while on the bike, but i dont think they really count), so it is really a milestone of a kind. i cant remember exactly when i got my full license but it is +10 years ago. oh boy. i felt as if i should celebrate with popping champagnes and all the jazz as the nascar racers do. well looking at the statistics, this would actually be even rarer than someone winning a car race. ha ha. i certainly hope it'll keep that way, no doubt.
the very last time i was driving a stick (as we call it in north america) was about 5 years ago, being the designated drivers for bandwagon of happily trashed graduate students. on and off, but i did learn and did it okay. not great. but if i was halting and screeching with the clutch, well, they didnt know because- they were definitely in a happier plane. and this would put me geographically in the midwest, where all things, including social events, can be very flat. so there i was, monkey designated driver, being the great chauffeur and the dreaded recollector of everyone's night log:
'seriously, what did i do? crap, dont tell me i kissed that scumbag!'
'well dear dear oh dear- i wish i could tell you otherwise'
'oh come on, tell me i didnt!'
'well... (slightly put empty latte cup towards the middle of the table)
(the desperate grad student makes a dash to the espresso bar)
(monkey sits while twiddling her thumbs)
anyways. so what does it all mean? well, not only im driving on the wrong side, with stick, i am stuck in the land of 'gentle, rolling green hills.' aha. very poetic. except these arent any gentle hills, they are freakin'swirling furls studded with ridiculous amount of traffic lights. so well. first day driving. all went a-okay. we did your typical drive-in-empty-parking-lot ordeal. see, the main challenge actually is not to drive, but to stop and go. over the years, i somehow maneuvered self through the sea of traffics without major dents. once it's on, it's easy. the problem is the fact before the car is set in motion, the car must start. oooh eeeeek. instead of simple 3 set steps of automatic: turn keys- steer- accelerate (well meanwhile somehow fit in checking for traffic flow), i was involved in some complicated devil-devised steps of myriad frustrations. somehow, i manage to remember most of it. thank the lord, so i thought.
so went the first day. no major traumas. no driving on the 'wrong' side etc. okay.
then came the second day, and not only i managed to drive on the right side of the road (which was quickly reminded by the oncoming traffic), i got into a fenderbender. damn it. i just remember the old wise saying of a great prof friend of mine: when things are all coming straight your way, you may be in a less than an ideal place. how laconic compare to monkey panic/confusion on the road. so after getting back into the appropriate lane (im not even going bother with 'correct/right/wrong' lane concepts anymore), we passed the elementary school en route, with all the parents, children, going home traffic, occasional trucks (some tall enough to rip off the bridge tops that justve been fixed, ha ha), on foot, tires, scream-powered pre-schoolers, skipping ropes, etc etc. and by this T- junction we have, it was a bit of a mayhem. see, uk roads are much more narrow (cheapos!) and somehow people have this infinite trust that they can squeeze parking on top. and by this house, there's always a parked car. right by the T-junction. which is always a bit risky in my head. but whatever.
so tight from both side, and i am on the bottom of these 'gentle' hills. see, when i was growing up, i frequently hear the fondle expression 'british gentleman.' but if the definition of this 'gentle' is anything like the 'gentle hills,' i think i should brace for either light domestic violence or seeing the teeth of british 'rough' man (from the light domestic violence of course!) (in aid to my own, i did get stepped on several times around london victoria station, which i have decided to deem as the most uncivilized tube stop of all london. esp. the ticketing machines area.) well anyways. so this 'hill start' thing, which involves: (i think)
ahem, because the hill puts gravity on the ass of the car, which will start to roll back, you need to put on parking break. and because you wanna start going forward (usually), you will now have to release parking break while creating enough push to get the car rolling. so:L
1. getting on red, stopping with parking break and both clutch and break down
2. on yellow, release parking break, start to accelerate
3. as you gas, start to release the clutch
4. theoretically at this point, you should be laughing, en route.
except i got real confused for some reason. so with minnow in that low-forced-calm-quivering-voice: stop stop stop, i ahem kissed ass of another man while he was there. oh bad me. flustered really! so anyways, after exchanging insurance etc etc., instead of shelling out some 800 odd pounds (the third man i kissed ended up having a few things bent underneath the bumper and wanted to get it fixed, which meant everything needs replacing, painting, labours, taxes, whatever), thanks to the insurance deity (which i have been repeatedly told of his asshole quality), who have agreed to pay for it for only a marginal increase in insurance fee, we are all okay.
well, except for slightly bruised monkey ego. ha. i am sure i will get the hang of it. what really is frustrating is that i really hate being anything less than excellent or at least above average. with such mental set (if im going to do it, i am going to be GREAT. if not, i aint touching it with a stick), learning new things are hard. not because the tasks are hard, but tolerating mistakes are hard. exactly the reason why i never really bothered to pick up a real secondary instrument: because while learning the instrument itself, i feel pretty low. so rather than realizing im human, i just get really pissed and throw things off the pram and sulk. when this crash happened, i wondered if im going to let anyone know. i can conceal and still be the 'perfect' driver. but it would be a bull$hit lie for no good reason than... (ooh the dreaded v word) vanity.
so, world, be comforted that no one was hurt and insurance deity has sense of sympathy at times. and please, refrain from poking fun at monkey next time you see her. she just may claim 'clutch confusion' and roll over your toes, then say 'oh shit', reverse, roll over it again , ah-ha. love to you all.