A hug-free, dent-free left-hand side of the road

Writing for day 15 of #Janblogaday: Transportation… and transportation means cars, cars mean driving, driving means rules of the road, the rules mean ‘stay to the right’, and in New Zealand, that means ‘stay to the left’.

You don’t really ‘learn’ to drive on the left-hand side of the road. You get used to it. Kind of like eating green weeds from the ground with mayonnaise-based sauce on top. Or having to touch your eyeball to put in your contacts. I suspect that’s also how people with bad teeth started going to bed without brushing — just got used to it.

While I didn’t have one of those crazy anxiety dreams about driving on the left-hand side of the road when we first moved to New Zealand, I was a little sceptical of my ability to adapt quickly. I don’t come from an ethnicity with a fair driving record, so all odds are against me. But because I’m more impressive than I usually let on, I picked up driving on the left better than most people pick up playing tennis on the Wii (and definitely quicker than Windows 8 that, by the way, totally sucks). Hello, usability of the Honda Accord, steering wheel on the right: 10 points.

I had been driving for maybe a week or so when I was on my way into work one regular morning. When you exit the motorway (because if you call it freeway here they laugh at you), you sort of do this round off turn onto the main road. You follow that road until 50 yards past the first stop light where a cutesy little corner on the left points you to the office road. It’s really a fabulous corner, not accident-prone, fairly wide by New Zealand road standards. I like the corner.

The road that connects to that corner could stand to be a little wider, but I think it’s on the Southwest Beach diet, and is typically lined with cars on each side. Since there’s something about a manual transmission that makes me feel like a race car driver, I may have been going about 40 kph when I rounded the corner that morning down the road.

Our car here plays only two radio stations — latino and Mai FM — because it was a Japanese import to the previous and very elderly car owner. Mai FM is sort of like the “Dude, where’s my car” of radio stations where you actually feel dumber after listening. The DJ’s were talking to a woman about taking a picture of her butt because they were in a search for “best ass in New Zealand”. Real or not real? Real. So I had that on pretty loud that morning.

And you know, I was just soaking up some pop culture and patting myself on the back for such a job well done driving on the left. Then… SWACK!!!!!!!!! And not like S.W.A.K (sealed with a kiss). But like a real SWACCCCKKKKKK!

I may have been hugging the left side of the road just a little too closely, and I may have not been going as slow as recommended, and I may have totally hit my side mirror completely in by a parked car.

Let’s just say I sobered up real quick from my Mai FM intoxication and took a stroll back down the road for a peripheral glance to inspect any damage to the line of parked cars on the skinny road. Two Civics and a CRV.

Does it seem like Honda has the same dent-free policy as Saturn? I think so.

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January blog a day | Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

More from #Janblogaday: Day 1: New… year, new resolution. Day 2: Two… things you should never say to your partner. Day 3: Bucket list… of (some un)realistic wishes. Day 4: Pet peeve… fountains are not the new jungle gym. Day 5: Fear not, even if I am a little crazy. Day 6: Embarrassment: Lindsey – 1, Dad – 4. Day 7: The shoe horoscope. Day 8: A little honesty. Day 9: Made with love: Wintery Instagram jam. Day 10: Grandma took my room, so I took her pajamas. Day 11: A husband confession. Day 12: Haiti changed me. Day 13: Top ten ‘why not’ finds at Walmart. Day 14: Guess that food. Tomorrow day 16: I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that.

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