A few weeks ago, I was up in St Ives visiting my friend Jonathan. St Ives is a suburb of Sydney and is located approximately half way between East Jesus and BFE. While Jonathan was driving me around, we were talking about how I was a bit afraid to drive in Australia since everything is backward. Then we devised a plan: I’d come up to St Ives one weekend and drive around in the quiet suburbs during the day. That would be a good plan to ease me into Aussie driving.
Well, that plan went to shit last night.
Jonathan and I were at Katzy’s – a kosher restaurant in Bondi – enjoying some matzo ball soup (I was having a craving), and as we drove away, I mentioned our plan to drive one day in St Ives. Well, apparently Jonathan was tired of driving that day, so he pulled the car over on a side street and told me to switch. Did I mention it was nighttime? Well, it was. And did I mention it had been raining and the roads were totally wet? Well, it had been, and they were.
So, I hopped behind the wheel. Jonathan was trying to coach me on how to drive – telling me to use my signals and put the car in drive. Yes, I know. I don’t need instruction. I’ve been driving a lot longer than he has. Just please tell me if I turn into oncoming traffic, thanks.
Having the steering wheel on the right side of the car really messes with your mind, even more than having the flow of traffic reversed. At least I know to follow the cars in front of me, so it would be difficult to turn into oncoming traffic, but when the wheel is on the right, you find yourself drifting to the left – trying to position yourself in the lane where you normally are used to sitting. Jonathan kept telling me to keep to the right… one time… two times… twenty times… I think he was overreacting a bit, but I suppose I would overreact too if the voices in my head were repeating “Why did you give this Yank the wheel? Are you fucking nuts?”
Besides, Jonathan’s tiny Volkswagen is like a Happy Meal toy compared to my old Nissan Pathfinder. I probably had plenty of room to roam in the lane.
The end result… I did it. No crashes. No turning into oncoming traffic. No panic attacks. Well, not for me at least. Jonathan was a different story. Whatever. It was his idea. And he now he has himself a chauffeur.