Driving 101

I’ve been pestering both Mommy and Daddy about this since…well, ever since I was old enough for a student permit, actually. We never got around pushing through with it since I was busy trying to become a doctor AND I really didn’t need to learn anyway AND I didn’t even have a car of my own to use.

Well, never the less, thanks to the UP academic calendar shift and the wonders what boredom can do-well, boredom and procrastinating (Sorry! Still not done editing! >.<)-, I finally signed up for driving lessons at A1 Driving School.

"Gusto kong matuto mag-drive!" 
                         - Overdrive by The Eraserheads

I had my first hands-on lesson today. And dear God, the nerves. Siyempre naman kakabahan ako! I’m the type of person who plays several possible scenarios in her head as to the circumstance I’m facing; assume the worse, sabi nga. I’ve imagined it all. To save this entry from becoming a bit morbid, I will refrain from listing those…scenarios.

Anyway, the anxiety comes naturally when you’re just starting out – this is true for any new experience. For the first hour of  the session, I was so freakin’ nervous, even though we were just in the starting and stopping, forward and backward part of the driving. The clutch is your worst enemy when it comes to manual driving. It took me a while to get the pedal controls – nothing like the pedals in the piano, that’s for sure. My instructor, Kuya Jake, was pretty patient with me, thankfully. I did my best to do as I was told. And of course, my hard work was rewarded eventually.

In fairness, ang dami kong na-achieve today! Sa umpisa lang talaga mahirap. It didn’t really take me long before I was able to do turns – left and right, baby! left and right! – already; we went around and around a residential block as practice. When he thought I was finally ready, Kuya Jake had me go for the main road, all the while guiding me along the process. Stupid clutch. 

I was able to drive through Commonwealth Avenue! Yey~! Kuya Jake got me to go at a maximum of 40 – hanggang secunda lang muna. ‘Di pa ako ready na bumilis pa lalo. Delikado. :)) Sure, the other cars were like honking and honking, obviously pissed at how slow I was going in the middle of the road, but come on, people, can’t you read the sign? Student driver! Mabuti nga at tuloy-tuloy ang andar ko kahit mabagal, hindi yung pahinto-hinto! Here was where I was taught how to switch lanes. By this time, Kuya Jake had already started with the life stories. I think it was meant to get me to relax. I took that as a good sign. If your instructor finally decides to stop with the teaching and start with the small talk, you know you’re doing something right! Oh yeah!

Next, we stopped at a gasoline station where I was taught how to do perpendicular parking (forward and backward) and the 3-point turn. I was already mentally saying praises when we found the parking lot partially empty (isa lang yung nakapark; nandun siya sa rightmost slot), when a car appears out of nowhere and takes the leftmost slot, leaving the middle one for me to take. Tuwa na lang ni Kuya Jake. Tamang-tama raw. Ayan! For practice! Well, thanks to his instruction, I was able to do it! Hoorah! And no, Chino, hindi ko sila binangga! Wala! Tama lang yung gawa ko. Problema ay kung gagawin ko na siya mag-isa later on. 

Things were pretty smooth-sailing from there. It was just practice of what I’ve already learned. Driving through Commonwealth Avenue again – no problems there. The return to Quezon Memorial Circle had me a bit panicky though! BV trucks! There was an instance when two big trucks – running fast, mind you, despite their enormous sizes – came at me from both left and right. I was practically shaking! Thank God I got through just fine and back to Kalayaan Avenue.

The last 30 minutes, it was just practice through Maginhawa St. Though infinitely much better than my first time, I was still having problems with the clutch. Kuya Jake says that it’s something a bit more practice can readily solve. Before I knew it, we were back by the driving school branch in Anonas.

Well, that definitely went a lot better than I expected. Achievement!

My next lesson’s on Monday. :) Let’s hope I can keep up the good work with some practice. Hoorah!

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