In a previous post I mentioned that one of the things that I did while JG was still in Libya and I was sent home was to learn how to drive. I also explained that the reason for this was because I want to make sure that in our next posting I have the means to get around wherever and whenever I want to. In more recent developments we recently acquired our vehicle here in Muscat to use for our personal convenience. That’s just the good news; the bad news is, so far I am not enjoying that much.
The fault in this matter is entirely mine, what I did not elaborate in that previous post, when I mentioned my learning how to drive, was that I’m really not that good at it yet. And as much as I want to rejoice in our new found freedom to explore this great city of Muscat, the same notion is now the source of mild anxiety attacks and the urge to tell people in my life that I hold dear how much I love them – just in case.
Let me explain, I have no qualms in admitting that I not only drive like a lady, I drive like an old lady. See, in the Philippines it was okay, because our country’s problem of over population has of course caused congestion in every possible road to anywhere. Thus the often heavy traffic entailed me to drive at a speed which I very much prefer as my pace, wherein I can comfortably anticipate sharp turns, jeepneys whose driver lacks the ability to signal, and would be jaywalkers who are too lazy to use the pedestrian crossing. Familiarity to the area as well as to cultural norms is also an advantage back home, because getting lost can happen rarely, and living there all your life you kind of already have an understanding of how driving in the Philippines (especially in Manila) works, which is basically kung makakalusot, lulusot (this literally translates as “if you can get pass it, pass it”; but back home it is an old saying and a general mantra for many which means if you can find a way, never mind if its prohibited, dangerous, or out-right crazy… go for it).
But now, here I am in new country, with an all together different means of driving. Here in Muscat, speed is an everyday thing, and road rules are taken seriously. I am now left with no choice but to finally kill off the old lady driver in me, but to keep up unless I want to be constantly honked at, or worst get hit by a faster car. Of course since I am not used to driving al a Stig, my reaction to turns, maneuvering, and all the other things you need to consider is much slower and all together sucks.
In the two days since we got the car, I almost got in an accident twice. Once in a sharp turn at high speed, and another going over the curb in a busy round-about (which they have lots of here in Oman). JG has been supportive at times, very understanding about the fact that I almost got him killed twice, assuring me that I will get the hang of it eventually. But then again there are moments when I suppose his testosterones get the better of him and he shouts at me like a grouchy driving instructor commenting at how slow I am and how my being too careful will definitely be the last of me. Oh, and btw, JG doesn’t drive. He took lessons back home, and claims that he knows how to, citing credentials he earned playing Grand Turismo with his PS3 consul.
In fairness to him, I find it amazing at how he has easily memorized getting around here in Muscat. He is one of those people who have a very good sense of direction. To be honest that was one of the first things I liked about him, because another thing I grudgingly admit is that my personal compass has always been dysfunctional ever since I was little. I was notorious for being claimed at the lost and found in malls, and should I accidentally find myself in a maze even today, I would probably never be seen or heard from ever again. So it’s nice that JG has a talent for maps and directions, for I would be both metaphorically and quite literally lost without him.
Nevertheless, I really like being able to get around. Yesterday we accomplished so many things that needed to be done, we normal would have to be at the mercy and kindness of others who would give us a ride, or perhaps ride a cab. On more promising thoughts, having the car would now enable me to drive to a pool I can use to go swimming (something I miss doing since I came here), plus be able to visit places like this, which to me is something worth braving it for… or at least until I finally get the hang of it.