Do you remember it ? That little thrill of sitting in the drivers seat, buckling in, turning on the engine and then glancing over at the unoccupied passenger seat ? Oh yes, you had your drivers licence baby and you were now in full control of the vehicle. You could adjust the seat, turn up the volume on the radio (urm, in my case, the luxury of a tape deck or cd player was still a few years off, not that I'm saying I'm a thousand years old or anything *ahem*) and rest your elbow on the wound down window ledge so that you looked like an old pro, cool as a cumber, yep been doing this ol' driving business for a good....few months now.
I do remember it but sadly my driving experience is a little more 'run of the mill' then 'thrill' these days. I don't know, maybe it's the depressing eau de mouldy carpet scent that gently permeates the interior of the car on a humid day, care of one of my dear, dear BILs who accidentally spilled an entire 1.5lt bottle of water throughout my boot. Maybe it's the size 1 foot that keeps 'accidentally' prodding me in the back as I attempt to admire the scenery and focus on what a pleasurable driving experience the mountain provides.
Speaking of which, driving on a mountain, sigh, you would think that without a single set of traffic lights and nary a traffic jam to be seen that it would be one of the most joyful driving experiences around. I'm afraid you would be mistaken. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that this is a tourist destination and that means that we often get...well...tourists, but it would seem that the tourists sometimes forget that there are also residents here who may actually want to get somewhere before...say, I don't know, next Christmas.
There's one particular area of our lovely mountain where you will find a t-intersection, it also happens to be the spot where a rather large map of the mountain is placed, rather conveniently, right next to the road. Now, at the risk of sounding like a grouchy old mountain nanna, if I had a penny for every time that I've turned right at the intersection and been forced to screech on the brakes to prevent myself from driving straight up the wazoo of a delightful visitor to the mountain who has simply stopped their car in the middle of the road so that they could read the tourist map....well....I'd have quite a few pennies, let me tell you (which would probably amount to the richly sum of about $2.50, so I think we can all agree that it's a rather sad state of affairs that I haven't in fact been hording pennies somewhere in my glove box).
Oh, and then there was the time I was driving down off the mountain (oh yes, amongst real traffic, I know you're impressed now) and found myself thoroughly confused as I watched a car driving toward me, in my lane. Yes, I admit, I had a moment where I mentally strummed through the pages of my 'learn to drive' manual and confirmed that I was actually on the correct side of the road. Naturally I began to slow down as the other car continued to creep towards me. By this time, I could see the occupants of the other car, a young couple of foreign nationality, he was hunched over the steering wheel wearing an expression of steely determination, whilst she was waving at me and mouthing the words "sorry" (or it could have been 'nori' or 'lorry', I guess that's open to interpretation). Anyway, I stopped my car and they continued on, turning right, again into the wrong lane, whilst manically waving, ooookay then.
There's never a dull moment when you're out on the open roads, that's for sure, and some days, no amount of easy listening music can ease the white-knuckled grip I have on my steering wheel. But when you least expect it, you can find yourself humming along to a song, enjoying the breeze as you navigate tree-lined, sun dappled roads and you think "Oh yeah, how good is this, have licence, will travel."
5 years ago