Monthly Archives: March 2015
Padda and me spent about 500km together so far.
10 days ago I drove to my friend’s house, about 50km away. It was a calm mid morning with as little traffic as you’re ever going to get in Holland during daytime. It was the first time I drove alone. Ever.
I was instantly calm, actually.
It went OK.
In the meantime I started driving to work and doing house calls by car. Sometimes I feel like a hero, sometimes I feel like a klutz and I just pray that everything goes well. I have a lot of internal conversation while driving…
“Ok, so I can brake through bendy off-ramps but it’s probably not too good for the car I think”
“Sorry sir, I really need to squeeze in”
“Oh, I just did a smooth merge…shit. BRAKE!!”
“Crap, I should have gone there, now what?”
“Sorry miss cyclist, did not realise you were going to try to squeeze through here but now you have to wait and you’re irritated because you’re a Dutch cyclist and that’s the type that doesn’t like to wait”
“Hope everyone else realise they once had to start driving too when they start to get irritated by me”
“So how can I do this more smoothly?”
“BRAKE. Note to self: some cyclists mistake roundabouts for the Tour de France”
“Why am I either very good at parking or very bad?”
“Whoops! One way street, can’t go here. THAT’s why the fat lady in the Suzuki Wagon which looks as worn out as her tekkies probably are was looking at me as if I’m crazy. Nothing to see here folks, it was my full intention to make a U-turn here…”
“Why does everyone have their lights on when it’s very much light outside? Did I miss a new law or something? I guess I’ll turn mine on too then. Oh look, there’s someone else without lights.” (I googled this: no new law, but all new cars in the EU after 2011 have to have day-lights)
Yesterday afternoon I was being all cool with my time management around house calls and stopped for some petrol on my way back to the practice. Turns out the petrol station was one of those where you pay with a card at the pump… and I didn’t know how it worked. The dude who worked there just sat and watched me struggle. I finally managed to fill Padda up on petrol, and arrived at work with 5 minutes to spare.
The supermarket next to the practice just reopened after a refurbishing, and the parking lot was almost full. So I parked in the one spot I could find. It was a bit more difficult, and I ended up parking a bit crooked. I reversed out to correct it, and while doing so scratched the door of the car next to me with my front bumper… with the owner of said car next to me standing there.
After both our blood pressures went down to normal, I apologised to him and went to check the damage. He asked for my data.
This is his car door…
I got my licence and insurance card and a pen and looked for the EU crash form, which I didn’t have of course.
He had one, we filled it out, and he was very kind considering I just parked into his car. Asked me if it was a new car, I said yes, I just had it. I phoned the practice to inform them that I was in the parking lot doing this.
I feel horrible about it, at the same time, I know it was bound to happen at some point.
Then I checked out the damage to Padda:
I think we need to get a touch-up tube of paint… I don’t have insurance for Padda, just insurance for third party damage. Given what I paid for Padda, insurance won’t be much help.
Today I got an e-mail from the man whose car I damaged, informing me the damage was minor and he didn’t need to repaint the door.
“Note to self: Padda is small, but not THAT small”
After buying Padda the 12-year-old Nissan Micra, I have to start driving it.
No, wait, I have to start driving. Period.
I was wildly excited until I realised it’s true what they say about only learning to drive AFTER getting your licence. And I haven’t driven much in 3 years time.
Today is the last day I am doing my commute by tram, train and bike. Had I known that I would have to make an unexpected house call at our furthest patient, I would have reconsidered my pencil skirt. It’s not very practical attire for a half an hour bike ride. I left the bike at the academic hospital, I want to ride it home after class next week if weather permits. (21km ride)
Say goodbye to this!!
(Of course, there will still be occasional public transport moments. Just no longer every day!)
I am a bit apprehensive about driving by myself. I practiced a bit this weekend and drove back from TDH’s parents with TDH next to me. I want to go visit a friend by myself tomorrow.
I’m in the right place for this now, and I don’t regret waiting a bit. I live in a complicated place traffic-wise. Being a new driver requires a lot of energy and focus, which I didn’t have a while ago. Given the place I was in immediately after getting my license, I think I’m in a safer place now.
I just have to get on the road and drive. (and remember that Padda stays the same size, no matter how small I feel).
TDH and I brought home my/our car today. A 2003 Micra which I -bouncing with excitement- already dubbed ‘Padda’. Padda is the Afrikaans word for frog. Because it has ‘frog eyes’, let’s just hope it doesn’t start jumping.
I feel like a kid on Christmas morning, and at the same time I feel like I should be a grown up now. A car is a responsibility!
I have a driver’s license for automatic transmission only, due to a very long story which may (probably is) ADHD related. I live in a country where most people drive manual transmission. I am perfectly happy with automatic transmission and don’t get people who think it’s strange that I chose to have this type of license. Why on earth would I go through more hassle to get a licence that allows me to drive with more hassle? Manual is fun outside of the city, but in one of Europe’s most densely populated countries automatic transmission is a blessing. Traffic jam? I just have to move my foot.
I tried driving automatic during my lessons, and immediately decided that I would buy an automatic transmission car regardless of what my license says.
Finding one was a bit of a challenge because most people prefer manual, especially in the small cheap segment I was looking in.
I changed my mind about what type of car I wanted halfway through looking at a few. Started out test driving a Corsa, which was fine, except TDH wasn’t convinced about the easytronic gear box. I didn’t mind too much but had no use for it. Went to look at a few small ones (Chev Matiz), argued with a salesman about having issues with it’s 0,8L engine. I still think driving a lawn mower on the highway sounds a bit ish.
The point being more than anything else: I sat in the tiny ones (old Suzuki alto, the Matiz) and knew this wouldn’t work.
I know this Micra isn’t much bigger. But it is a bit bigger and that is enough.
It also has a small engine but not a lawn mower size engine.
I also tested the ultimate gerontomobile: Suzuki Wagon R. Seriously great fun in the city. Perhaps not so much on a windy highway. It’s a pretend lorry! My dad loved it tehnically.
TDH insisted we try a few more, my dad and I were about to impulsively buy either the mint green Corsa or the bright blue gerontomobile.
I was impatient because I’ve been waiting so long for that moment when I’d buy my first car. Seriously. I’ve been looking forward to it for 10 years.
TDH has a different style of decision making. He dove into comparisons and reviews and phoned his mum, who -surprisingly- knew something about cars.
I refreshed my search a few times, found a place (far away because they didn’t have any automatic cars nearby!) with 3 to choose from and asked my dad to go with us again. Then, last Thursday, Padda popped up on my search results.
I took the two most important men in my life with me to check out the cars. Tested a crap Corsa, then went to check out Padda.
Padda would do, didn’t need much time to think about it. I didn’t have much time either, he was in demand. Said the man who also sold my sisters their cars two years ago.
I signed, went home to take care of the payment and the insurance and we went to pick up Padda today.
TDH drove home, because I haven’t driven much since getting my license 3 years ago. Both of those men in my life are very reluctant to let me drive.
Fine. I will practice a bit with TDH first.
But I am so excited!