Life in the Left Lane

Well, I have now driven on three different continents.  Granted in Africa it was once, and probably very badly, but to be fair the truck was almost twice as old as I was.  At least it looked like it was.  This time, the car was considerably newer and I did a much better job.   Coincidence?  I just don’t know.

No, we haven’t bought a car.  I know you were all wondering.  We joined Streetcar.  It’s kind of like ZipCar in the US.  It’s a car-sharing program.  You pay a yearly membership fee and you can take one of the several cars around town for an hour or a few days.  Significantly more economical for the hour.  We’re pretty excited about this because there have been several times when we wished we had a car for just a couple hours to do a big grocery shop or get to a larger shopping centre and now we have a way to do that without having the expense of renting for a whole day.

So, my friend Janet is coming out to visit next week.  We are renting a car to do some toodling around.  Very exciting.  But I didn’t want my first time driving here to be on my way to London’s Heathrow airport with Doodle and no Rocket Scientist.  Perfect way to test out our new Streetcar membership.

Sadly there are no pictures as I was a bit too shaky to take any.  I was very happy to find that driving a manual transmission is a skill that comes back very quickly.  The only thing that was a bit awkward was of course that the stick was on the left side. Thank goodness the peddles are still in the right order.  I only stalled the car once.  Technically the car stalled twice, but I’m fairly certain that God did it the second time.  See, He knew I was about to turn down a one way street and I didn’t.  And the brakes work great.  There are these little mini-roundabouts that you don’t see until you’re broadsiding the car turning right in front of you.

That was the toughest part, the part that left me a little weak in the knees after an hour of driving around getting used to things.  Not the stick-shift, not even driving on the left side, it was the signs, or lack thereof.  There aren’t always signs where you expect them and half the time you don’t actually know what the sign means, so while you’re busy trying to figure it out, you suddenly find yourself on the motorway with no idea where you’re going or how to get out of the roundabout up ahead.

Well, I managed to not get lost, not drive down the wrong roads or the wrong lanes, not hit anything or anyone, and not get honked at (but only because it was a very gracious person behind me at the time).  I came home after an hour just to let my nerves settle a bit.  We had supper and then headed out to an evening service at the local vineyard church.  I did feel much better that time for having had the practice.

Now we just have to see how Doodle and I survive picking up Janet on Friday.  It’s his naptime so he should sleep the whole way there.  *Please, God, let him sleep the whole way there.*
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