Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Driving and Me

I just read The Aspie Bestie's blog post here (fingers crossed the link worked, I've never done one before!) and I was tempted to write a short post about my own experiences with driving. Considering I know that it can be (one of the) topics of great discussion where I fall on the "different" side of the stick - and boy does it feel strange to still feel different and weird even while I'm finding people like me and feeling like I almost belong.

Yes, I can drive.

I got my learners at 18 (later than most people I knew) at my grandmother's urging. One driving lesson with gran who immediately said "never again!"

Then that was it for two years. Then, three lessons with an Asian driving instructor (and I'll admit to succumbing to racial stereotype and being a little afraid to learning to drive from an Asian. At the end of the third lesson, he announced (with a glint of greed in his eyes) "She will need at least thirty more lessons to be good enough to pass the restricted test."

So that was it for two years. Every now and then Hoppy would give me a "lesson" in his car and I would struggle away, freaking out if there was anyone behind me or in front of me and going 60 on the open road (speed limit is 100), and afterwards he would tell me off for being useless and I would vow never to try again.

At one point, the "all the things at once" issue nearly had me driving into a lamp post. After all: indicate, turn wheel, clutch, break, gear change, accelerate, look, mirror check... All those things were too much to do at once. I. Was. Terrified.

Eventually I gave up on being scared. I had to jump in the deep end. I booked lessons with an instructor who had automatic cars. On the second lesson, he started talking to me, having a conversation while I continually froze up. He started talking, of all things, about religion. He was SDA - which in my opinion is another crazy cult, but I am not a religious person and they all amuse me to some degree - and we just talked. And after a while I realised I had driven through the hour, we were back at home, and I hadn't panicked.

I think I had six lessons with him. Then that was it for 6 months. No-one I know has an automatic car so I couldn't practice.

Then I went "screw it." Booked my driving test, rented an automatic car, and passed with flying colours. Only issue was I hesitated too long at roundabouts.

Shortly after that, I brought myself a car. And... once I had my own car, I had no issues with driving.

I mean, I learned the hard way that I can't play music loudly and stay on my side of the road. It took me 3 years to be able to do that. A friend had to help me "learn" how to drive after dark, or in the rain. Initially I was too scared to do that. And I still refuse to drive in what I call "Traffic" (in other words, rush hour traffic or anything similar). I don't like cars in front of me, or behind me, but I got over the thought of "I can't go faster than 60, ScreamingMetalDeathTrap!"

I zone out and get to places without remembering passing certain "markers" along the way. I have to hold the steering wheel with my left hand or I can't control the wheel. I tap and fiddle and stim when I'm driving.

That's my story.

Also, I'm convinced that other things would work the same way as driving. Once I have my own house, I'll be able to look after it better. I hope. {i really really want to own my own home... one day...}

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