The last time I sat behind the wheel, I scratched my father-in-law’s car.
I had gotten my driver’s license back in 2007 but didn’t drive much because I didn’t have a car. And really, you don’t want to test your newly acquired driving skills on the car of your then-boyfriend’s father.
But when we got married, my in-laws were very kind and insisted that I practise my driving so from time to time, I would take over the wheel and prowl the roads, with husband sitting next to me. Unfortunately, my lack of spatial skills meant that I was terrible at parking and in carparks. And while driving up the multi-storey carpark at our estate, I scratched the side of the car along the wall.
And since then, I have had a phobia of driving.
It’s just so much easier to not drive. We bought a flat near the bus interchange and MRT station so that we wouldn’t have to buy a car. Plus, when you are married to someone who can drive with one hand and one foot and his eyes closed, it’s far simpler to let him take over the driving duties.
But with the impending arrival of the nugget, we have had to get our own set of wheels so that we can ferry the bubs to my mother’s place when I return to work after my maternity leave. And since I am the one who gets to have free parking in school and leave work on time, I would naturally be the chauffeur.
Which means I have to get used to driving. EVENTUALLY.
So the car was purchased just last week and I decided to christen it Zeus today. And clearly, the Greek God wasn’t pleased that I was using his name on our sleek chariot.
Because I dented our new old car. TODAY.
I was on half day leave today and wanted to head over to the Squirts’ and my mom’s after work. It made sense to drive and I talked myself into getting behind the wheel for the first time in three years. And it went well! I drove to school, parked and heaved a sigh of relief.
That sense of relief continued when I got myself and the car in one piece to the Squirts’. And thereafter, I drove to my mother’s place successfully. The technique of driving was coming back to me and I was getting used to handling the car. All in all, I was feeling mightily pleased with myself when I drove into the freaking carpark opposite my mama’s block.
I made my way gingerly up the slopes of the multi-storey carpark (DO I SENSE A PATTERN?!) and was contemplating parking on the second floor instead of the fourth, which was linked directly to her flat. But I decided that it was a good opportunity to practice my navigation skills since there weren’t many cars around. As I was carefully preparing to go up the penultimate slope that would take me up to the fourth floor, an Indian worker carrying a water hose suddenly appeared in my direct path.
I was stunned.
And my hands froze and stopped turning the wheel.
And the car lurched heavily into the wall.
The fellow actually stared me down for a good five seconds before moving out of my way. I slowly reversed and turned the car into the correct angle to go up the slope while my heart was pounding and my brains were going OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT. I managed to get to the correct deck and parked – albeit sloppily – and got out to survey the damage.
There it was: a dent in the bumper.
It doesn’t appear to be anything major, the car was fine (save for that dent) and so was I. But I was so miserable at ruining our car on my first drive out. I felt like such a BLOODY FAILURE.
Husband was very nice about it: he waved away my offers to pay for the damage out of my own pocket and even gave me loads of consoling hugs and kisses. And the gang was sweet about it when I texted them – they didn’t laugh at me and told me it was okay was long as I was okay.
But I couldn’t help recounting every moment of that crash, right down to the sickening crunch of metal against concrete, the entire night. I kept thinking to myself, if only I had stopped and parked on the second floor, dammit.
I had on Jem’s Just A Ride on repeat mode the entire day; I kept telling myself it’s just a car ride and nothing to be scared of