Friday, 11 May 2012

I'm a very bad driver

I am. A very bad driver.  I'm not so much a dangerously bad driver, as a local neighbourhood menace sort of a bad driver. I like a bit of 'touch' parking. And I'm fond of mounting the curb as I take sharp corners. Just to test out where it is.

 I have nearly knocked the neighbour's picket fence horizontal with the number of times I've misjudged the 'swing in' to my driveway. Admittedly my driveway is very narrow and it's hard to get a good swing arc happening. They're very good about it. They just appear out front every second Sunday, push the fence upright and touch it up with some white paint. They don't even glare at me.

The old man across the road, the one who does glare at me like he wants to kill me, once gave me a very thorough talking to about my inability to back out of my driveway without nudging the cars that are parked opposite. (At last count there were six different cars attached to that house.  I'm not sure how all the people who drive the cars  fit into that house but they seem to be making a go of it.)

He told me (with a lot of hand waving and crazy hair pulling) that a 10 tonne truck could easily back out of my driveway. Therefore, he concluded,  I need not make such a fist of it every time.  I agreed with him. It was probably true. But I just don't like having to go backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards in small increments when I'm in a hurry. Which I always am at two minutes to three.  In the end, we agreed to disagree.

They continue to park their six cars there. (At their peril.) He continues to glare at me every morning.  I give him a wave and say, "Hello!" in a cheery voice before getting into my car to offend him with my bad driving.

He's a glutton for it. He stands and watches me when he could just as well go inside and save himself the pain.

Which brings me to my main point. When someone is a bad driver, I think it is very impolite for people to stop and gawp while that person (me) executes their bad driving.  Say for instance, I'm backing into a parking space and I've cocked it up and come a cropper on the curb.  I don't need a bunch of  people (usually men) standing with their arms folded, watching me like hawks as I have another go at it. It only makes things worse. 

Just the other day I pulled into a service station. It was being dug up all over the place and things were very confusing. There were witch's hats and bits of orange 'access denied' tape everywhere. I pulled in beside a pump and then realised I couldn't get out front-ways.

I reversed and heard a small plastic crackly sound. Thinking I'd backed into something, I went forward again. The same crackly plastic sound again. Thinking I'd forwarded into something, I went backwards again, with a bit more juice, because I was getting slightly panicky.

By this stage, people had begun to stare.  Slowly their heads turned. One man got out of his truck, mouth agape and then scratched his head in sheer disbelief: as if what I was doing was so beyond him, he just could not tear his eyes away.

Another man, standing by the pump, shook his head gravely in a very judgmental fashion.

I floored it and heard the plastic crackly sound really loudly this time. There was a slight lift in the chassis as one back wheel went over something.  As I drove away with people staring, the truth of the plastic crackling sound was revealed in my rear vision mirror: a mangled witch's hat.

I'd done quite a job on it.

I had reversed and forwarded over it at least three times. It must have looked to everyone as though I had a particular vendetta against it and wanted to just finish it off once and for all.

Well I say this. Stare off people. I am a very bad driver.


  1. As someone who doesn't drive at all, just have to have express my utter admiration. Cracking story.

    1. Thanks Michael, you are my first commenter. Ever.

    2. Very funny, Penny. I loved the bit about the neighbours who come out and straighten the fence, then touch it up with paint. they must like you a lot.

    3. Hi Penny, I quite like that. I stumbled on to the blog after just having bought an old Club Hoy CD off GEMM (Fortysomething fan going back to On and On). Keep up the writing!

  2. Great to see you around the internet Penny.. I look forward to your adventures as were the writings back in the old days..