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”