Scary Cars

(Part of a daily posting streak but for once I don’t think I need to apply the disclaimers to this. If you thought for even one second that the title was a palindrome, I’ve succeeded. It’s not. I don’t have a good title. Okay, maybe slap the disclaimers onto that part.)

The first time I drove a car was on 5/18. I think. I might be off by a day or so. Most of that day’s lesson was spent learning to go forward and backward, accelerate and decelerate smoothly, and turn the wheel without getting my hands tangled up. My coach made me count out loud how many circles I was turning: 一圈半圈半圈一圈etc. It felt kind of stupid when I was doing it, but I guess in the end it helped, and eventually once I got the hang of turning the wheel, I just subvocalized it and my coach also tacitly stopped bothering me about it.

The first time I activated a turn signal light was probably on 5/26. That was the day I wrote in my TIL log that, when you turn the steering wheel back from the direction you were turning, the turn signal lights turn off automatically. After you think about it, this is a pretty sensible thing for turn signal lights to do, but when I first learned this my mind was utterly blown. Wow!

It’s like when you’re turning and you turn on the turn signal and it starts clicking this steady beat to increase the dramatic tension, like you’re doing a trick in a sports driving game and you have to quickly hit the right sequence of buttons on the controller. Then you actually turn the corner and then turn the wheel back, and as the wheel makes its smooth sliding sound back to its upright position, the beat stops like a resounding V7 to I resolution, as if to congratulate you on executing a beautiful turn without crashing into another car or driving off the side of the road.

That’s what it feels like, anyway.

On slow days, when you’re halfway through a turn but the drivers ahead of you are waiting in a queue that stretches on forever on the practice track, you can shift to the parking gear and use the turn signal’s beat as a metronome and sing along to it too. I do.

Or, of course, there’s the obligatory xkcd:


Actually driving on roads outside the practice area is a lot scarier, though.

You have to pay attention to the speed limit. You can’t drive too slowly either, or the people behind you will become irritated, and if you’re really unlucky might stop and bash your car in with a baseball bat or something. But with the vanilla training cars you get, you have to look at the analog speedometer to know how fast you’re going. It’s a few centimeters from the dashboard, but those few centimeters are terrifying to a newbie driver like yourself.

Writing in second person is weird. Sorry.

Now I understand why all the new cars feature the seven-segment LEDs that project your speed onto the corner of your windshield. I would figuratively kill for one of those. Because I don’t want to literally kill anybody when I’m shifting my eyes to my speedometer to compare it against the speed limit and miss the traffic light turning red in the meantime.

Speaking of traffic lights, even when they’re green, it’s kind of scary to drive into, because who knows, some drunk guy might come roaring in from the side despite their red light and blindside me. Like what happened in P******* (censored to avoid spoilers; I will be pretty surprised if anybody can identify the work I’m referring to. But not that surprised because it’s pretty famous in its genre.) Also note that teachers who come from abroad to teach at our school seem to generally agree that Taiwanese drivers are pretty crazy.


For God’s sake, you’re entrusting me with a car. I still run over zombies in simulated cars for Kongregate badges sometimes.

That is actually premature, because the driving test is the day after tomorrow and, although I can drive around the test track fine, I am significantly underprepared for the written portion. Most of it is okay, but there’s a list of 50~60 crimes, from committing a hit-and-run that kills somebody to parking where it’s not allowed, for which I’m supposed to remember the punishments and fines for. That’s probably not an unfair supposition considering I had a month to memorize it, but, of course, I didn’t.

In my defense, it’s unspeakably boring. There are a few mildly amusing clauses in the other sections, at least.









I am bad at bilingual snark. Anyway, I’m going to go study now and if I don’t post tomorrow, or post something really underwhelming, that’s my excuse.

Driving is scary.

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