Monday, July 19, 2010
Give me a road full of sweeping corners, sharp bends and hills, and I'll quite happily drive it. Put a long country road ahead of me and I'll drive for hours. Take me to a four-wheel-drive track and I'll give it a go - up and down steep hills in low range, water crossings and deep ruts are no problems, especially if Steve is beside me tutoring.
I'm a Melbourne girl, but I'm not a city girl. I'm not even a country girl - I live in the hills on the outskirts of Melbourne and that's where I'm most comfortable.
I like to think I'm a competent driver. Maybe even a 'good' driver, although I often think that to call oneself a good driver seems a bit cocky.
But put me on a city road and I feel like, well, a woman in the wrong place.
The city of Melbourne is quite a challenge for a driver. Trams, heavy traffic, pedestrians darting across in front of you, cyclists weaving in between the cars, and parked cars blocking whole lanes of traffic. All while you're trying to find a shop or house that will inevitably be missing a number.
Then one must park the car. Reverse parking is rarely required in the hills, but in the city it's a must. And I'm not good at it. I think I've done it two or three times since my driving test. Add to that the various signs about loading zones, permit zones, park here on a Saturday if you can stand on your head for an hour at a time, but only between the hours of one and one-thirty a.m. Reading some of these signs is like battling your way through the fine details of a Tolkien novel.
All of that, and I haven't even mentioned the infamous Melbourne hook turn. (This is when one does a right-hand turn from the left lane, so that one does not block the tram line. It is strange and I have never attempted to do one.)
I do, however, have one very strong skill when I'm driving in the city. Something I have mastered in all (read: very little) the inner suburbs driving I've done.
That is, I can always - always! - pick the wrong lane. If I'm in the left, it will always be blocked by parked cars ahead, or I'll be stuck behind a cyclist. If I choose the right lane, I'll be caught behind a car turning right or, worse, a tram (one cannot pass a stopped tram, so if you're stuck there without a free spot in the left lane, it can take a long time to get to your destination).
A very dubious skill to possess, if you ask me.
So, if you ever need to be driven around rolling hills, through the country, or very, very slowly through the inner suburbs of Melbourne - I'm your woman.
What are your best driving skills? What are you not so good at in the car?
Posted at 6:47 AM