-- but before I get to that, I'd like to pause a moment to acknowledge the sadness that overtook me two days ago, upon hearing the news of the bomb blasts in Bombay. I have long since stopped caring who/what is responsible for grisly public tragedies: it matters only that there are at least 200 families whose lives have been shattered by the deaths caused by the blasts and many hundreds more who will remain incapacitated by the serious injuries of those who survived.
This might not be a practical suggestion, but: if the media and the world at large could cease to publish the names/organizations/nationalities of terrorists and focus exclusively on healing the wounded and caring for the bereaved -- if, in short, terrorists ceased to get attention through the use of terror -- maybe they would be forced to find more acceptable methods of addressing their grievances.
I suppose that's a vain hope.
Back to the driving lesson.
I had my third one today. Tuesday, like I said, is a day of rest for the August Academy and Wednesday it was raining hard. Today, at eight o'clock, on the dot, there was the little red chariot, with its two occupants -- Mr Moccha and the silent young woman who is my co-student. I must correct a peculiar misconception: apparently the car I've been using does NOT have that triangular contraption on its roof! I seem to have manufactured it in my imagination, when reconstructing the lesson from memory.
Anyway! Today marked my transition from illiterate invertebrate to gear-using primate. I will admit that for the two days since my last lesson, I have been practicing changing gears by imagining what it might feel like, in my head. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, this IS how I navigate the by-lanes and cul-de-sacs of reality -- by imagining as much as I can of the path ahead in advance. It's a very cumbersome, resource-intensive approach, because it means I virtually relive everything that happens in my life except for the tiny bits of experience that occur unexpectedly(these are nearly always the nasty bits. I try very hard to imagine every type of nasty bit just to be fair and balanced, but -- wouldn't you know it? -- there are always very many more of them than I can possibly dream up).
As a result, it was almost fun, today. I won't bore the readers of this blog, nearly all of whom are drivers (only because most people who can turn on a computer are equally adept at leaping into cars and driving off into the sunset) with the details -- but I was quite surprised to find it didn't stress me out. Of course, Mr Moccha kept telling when to make the changes, but I think one element that has made a big difference is that I have finally realized that I can unhook my left foot from the clutch. Wow! What a relief. I am sure I've been told this many times over, but it has only now really got through to me that the brake is what I need in order to go fast or slow until there's a gear-change to worry about.
And the reason it got through to me now and not for all the 53 years before this moment, is that I finally made the effort to watch E's feet while sitting in the passenger seat day-before-yesterday, as he drove around the block to a friend's house. That's when I saw that his left foot sat quietly to one side while the right foot danced about -- stopping, starting, stopping, starting ... quite a busy little character, that foot!
This leads me to wonder whether left-handers feel uncomfortable, using their right feet for all that below-the-ankle-level activity? Since handedness is connected to the separate spheres of left/right brain activity, surely it should affect the feet to the same extent (gt -- are you reading this?)?
So we got home after a peaceful ride all the way through the mayhem of 8.00 a.m traffic -- busses parping, cyclists tinkling, school children leaping out in front of the car, all of that nonsense, and I was no longer wholly white-knuckled. A little, sure -- but less than the previous two days.
There's the reverse gear to be faced, of course, and parking and ... well, it's much better when I avoid thinking of the farther shore of competence and just stick with what I have today. Which is: 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, yayyyyy!
A demain ...
Here's a grouse: I can't seem to log into my blog!! No idea why. Can't log into ANY blogger pages, so I'm not feel personally insulted. But it certainly cuts into my daily road-warriorette saga. Today was the fifth day of my transformation-to-be and what can I say? At one level, yes -- I can sense fundamental changes occurring in my DNA -- I feel a desire to change gear, and I no longer have that sense of lateral vertigo -- the combined dread/desire syndrome -- of fearing that I will crush every cyclist and motorist that comes within ten feet of my car. But at another level, I continue to feel utterly detached, as if there's someone at the wheel but it's not me (... PINK FLOYD ref, yes).