…the only exception was my driving tests.
I failed the slope test on my first try (my car rolled back as I failed to balance the clutch and gas pedals) and then screwed up the 3-point-turn on my second try (yes, possibly the easiest of trio of tests). I aced the parking test and practical road test on my first try, without any form of bribery might I add. I remember during those days, the instructor would inform you that if you paid an upfront additional ‘fee’, the practical road test was a shoo-in. My dad refused to pay the bribe as he didn’t believe in taking what he deemed as ‘the easy (and morally wrong) way out’.
In my twenties, I racked up a lot of miles for work, and remember doing the following stupid things that I would never ever do now:
- Crashed and spun my car, taking a corner too quickly, in the rain at Putrajaya. I still remember that corner. And the whiplash.
- Possibly wore out my best friend’s car tyres and brakes, by driving so quickly around corners in Port Dickson (sorry man my bad, thanks for still loaning me your car when I’m back in KL!).
- Drove home, unbelievably tired from working long hours in audit, at about 120-130kmph on the Federal Highway, and jolting awake from a micro nap as my car kissed the middle barrier.
- Once (only once!) when I was driving my ex-boyfriends’s rather quick Peugeot, I raced another car somewhere in near PJ on the Federal Highway all the way back to Subang Jaya.
My thirties (my remaining days are truly numbered), I spent mostly out of Malaysia, learning how to drive in the European countries on the wrong side of the road, driving all sorts of different rental cars, from the usual sedan to a van. Driving when it was just me and V0, then adding on V1 and V2 respectively, at times with my sister and her husband. There were incredibly memorable driving experiences in Germany on the Autobahn and the Romantic Road, in Australia, from Adelaide to Melbourne and back again, in Iceland and the Canadian Rockies amidst the awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping landscapes, in Italy, exploring Tuscany – Lucca, Pisa, Florence, San Gimigiano…I feel truly privileged!
I share this love for driving with my sister. Both of us remember sitting in the car as kids as our dad drove us when we ‘balik kampung’ for Chinese New Year to Ipoh, Seremban, Port Dickson and Melaka. Sometimes he would drive us to Singapore to see our relatives, at times to Penang, Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands and even Club Med Cherating. My dad would put his favourite cassette (remember those?!)on and we would have to listen to Bread, the Beatles or the Everly Brothers on repeat. That’s probably why I have all those songs’ lyrics imprinted in my brain after all these years.
One of our most poignant memories was my dad stopping our car in the middle of Penang bridge and making all of us get out of the car, including my terrified cousin, to admire the view. I’m pretty sure it was against the law….
I remember being a (responsible!) designated driver more than once: driving family home or back to the hotel after my dad had one too many at many a relative’s wedding dinner, driving a friend home after we’ve gone clubbing and he’s had too much to drink. I was always the driver who when everyone else (or the boyfriend!) was dead beat tired, I would take over the wheel.
I have not-so-great memories of struggling to change punctured tyres, being stopped by the Malaysian police, being stuck in horrible, time-defying traffic jams and heart-pounding moments when you can barely see beyond the windscreen wipers in torrential rain and dense fogs. I have lost my cool at rude drivers who steal your parking spots, cut you off in a queue and behave like assholes on the road.
Then there was that hilarious incident in Malaga, Spain which involved one male friend who was busy drinking beer in the backseat, my now husband who bless him, can’t drive to save his life and a very terrified ex-flatmate who was navigating and is convinced that I’m the shittiest driver on the planet since the day she met me at audit training. The incident resulted in us leaving the crime scene in a hurry, only to stop around the corner at a hardware shop to get a lot of duct tape to DUCT TAPE the side mirror back to the car. Let’s just say explaining the situation when we returned the car to the rental company was interesting.
All in all….it’s been epic! Driving makes new memories and bring back some of the old ones. Just like life, it starts out getting you to your destination but I’m convinced now the journey is just as, or if not, more important. Here’s to many more driving memories…