Monday, 14 October 2019

Driving Little Starts

Weird title, I know. I’m at that point where more people get to ask you whether you can drive. I have friends who can drive, and I’ve definitely heard my closest peeps hinting that I should learn.

So I went to a driving school. 😁

Little Starts


I'm learning how to drive. Like really, d-r-i-v-e. I'm not talking about driving a car with an auto gearbox, but I'm talking about driving a manual car with three pedals: clutch, brake and accelerator (in that order, left to right).

And boy, it's been few weeks on this journey and I'm yet to get a hang of the clutch pedal. It is obviously the thing that makes driving a manual car more difficult than an auto.

The brake and accelerator pedals are pretty simple — press the brake to slow down (the firmer you press it, the quicker you’ll lose speed), while using the accelerator increases the engine’s revs and causes you to speed up (the firmer you press it, the quicker you will speed up). But the clutch? Let's not go into too much detail.

On the third day of my driving class, with great pleasure and sheer excitement I sat on the driver’s seat of the driving school’s car and followed my instructor’s advice. . .

We went through the pre-driving protocols: seat belt, mirror, hands on the wheel, clutch down and so on.

I had barely moved the car and he advised me to look in front and control the steering wheel and said “KEEP LEFT” and within a second a motorcycle overtook from the left with loud music playing in the stereo. I had learnt that we must overtake only from the right side. The instructor looked at me and said, “I know it is wrong to overtake from the left and to talk on the phone while driving but YOU must always be alert and always be looking to your centre, left and right rear view mirror!”

"What???!"
I thought to myself, "how am I supposed to be looking at the left, right and centre with just two eyes?" 
"Well, you wear glasses. So you actually have four eyes," the voice in my head whispered. I chuckled.

"Aunty, you have to be serious about learning how to drive," the instructor said. Until this minute, I cannot categorically point out the reason for those words. Could it be that I was thinking out loud?

"OK."

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Being behind the wheel was a surreal experience. It’s not as if I’ve never sat in a driver’s seat before – I think we’ve all done it when growing up. But, to sit in the driver’s seat knowing that I would be the one making this thing move, now, that was an experience. I wasn’t very nervous, but I did have a sense of wanting to learn everything all at once. I was overthinking a lot about what if I get something wrong and so on. Blame the voice in my head.

Starting the car and beginning to move was something I’ll never forget. Hearing the tyres move against the tarmacadam, the stones cracking underneath me, is so vivid.

A picture of me on the wheel would have been more perfect here but it didn't occur to me that I would be writing this article at the time. Let's manage this picture of me in Kachi's car.

I didn’t drive much; just around a parking space and across the streets. But it felt like I was taking a life-changing journey. And it made me view the future as full of possibilities, independence, and action.

Driving really is about trusting yourself and being aware of your environs; you need the belief that you know what you’re doing, which is what I am learning to do. I still get a tiny stab of fear when I release the clutch, but I feel confident that I can drive.

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Now I can picture myself driving—taking my husband to the park, meeting up with my girlfriends at a conference, picking up my mum for a photoshoot, attending events.

I certainly have a lot more to learn. I definitely do not know how to drive (just yet). But, I have driven. So that’s a box I can tick. If you’re worried about driving for the first time, all I can say is, it’s not as bad as you think it is. Just go for it. At the very least, you’ll have a story to tell at the end of it.

Even if you don't get to cruise around town, hair blowing in the wind, one thing is for sure: you are starting to take the wheel.

"Do not despise the day of little starts."

Thanks for reading.

Stay inspired.

P.s Remember when I blogged about the Yellow Traffic Light? Yeah, that was me learning road and traffic signs. Lol.


Written by Nwamaka Onyekachi 
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Heart Rays . . . giving light

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