Monday, May 7, 2018

Diary of a New Driver - Chapter Two

     In this chapter, your's truly encounters the dreaded roundabout. To read the previous chapter, click below.
Chapter 1


Chapter 2: Centrifugal Force

    After subsequent days of intense training, I finally mastered the intricate skill of guiding a car through an empty parking lot - without damaging the car or nearby squirrels. Dad decided it was time to take my skills to the next level.

“Now we’ll practice driving around the neighborhood down the street,” he announced.

After pulling the car into the neighborhood’s entrance, we switched seats. I fiddled with the mirrors, wheel, and seat, adjusting them to my significantly shorter stature. Dad prepped me for the new experience.

“Because this is a neighborhood, there will be other cars.”

Seeing the panicked look on my face, he hastened to assure me.

“But don’t worry, they’ll be going at very low speeds. As you drive, be sure to scan the road in front of you and be aware of people walking or kids playing. Look out especially for young kids…”

Ok. Scanning the road… there’s a lady with a stroller… kid on a skateboard… no wait, that’s a hoverboard! Oh man, that is so cool! I should get one…NO GLORIA PAY ATTENTION, we do not want the same problem to occur that happened last time.

“...those can be a little tricky but I’ll help you when we come to one.”

Wait, what did he say?

“Ready to go?”

“Uh, I guess…”

“Alright, proceed up to that stop sign and turn right.”

All went well until an imposing truck pulled up behind our little Hyundai.

“Dad…” I tried to sound calm. “There’s a car behind me… what do I do???”

“Nothing, just keep going. He’ll probably turn off soon enough.”

But… but I don’t want a car following me! What if he gets upset at my terrible driving? What if I’m going too slow? Wait, how fast am I going? Let’s check the… NO DON’T LOOK, just keep your eyes on the road Gloria, it’ll be ok.

I gripped the steering wheel.

Please turn off, please, please, please… YES he’s turning into that driveway! Whew, that was close!

As we continued through the narrow roads, my confidence increased.

Hey this isn’t so bad… as long as there aren’t any other cars around. Aw, look at that little girl on her bike! I remember learning to ride a bike. It’s so different from driving a car…

“Woah, careful there!” Dad’s hand flashed out and grabbed the steering wheel, directing the car away from the sidewalk.

“Whoops, sorry!” I slowed the car and quickly regained control of its direction.

“That’s ok,” Dad released the wheel. “Just focus on steering the car in the center of your lane.”

Right Gloria, focus.

“Now up ahead there’s a roundabout. Those can be tricky, but like I said, you just have to aggressively turn the wheel as you go around the center circle.”

Roundabout? Shouldn’t be too hard. You got this Gloria.

We slowly approached the looming obstacle and I gripped the wheel with the dexterity of an equestrian learning to jump her horse.

“Ok, turn to the right,” Dad coached me. “Now turn the wheel hard to the left.”

Right… left… hard? I thought your were supposed to make gentle turns… better keep it gentle just to be sure.

As we turned around the circle, I suddenly realized why the turns should be hard.

Wait… we’re headed straight toward the grass on the opposite side! TURN GLORIA TURN!!!

“Turn it harder!” Dad exclaimed reaching out to grab the wheel again. But he was too late. The car bumped over the curb and onto the grass, narrowly missed a sign pole.


The car jolted to an abrupt stop. All was silent.

“Well…” Dad took a breath. “Nothing’s damaged.”

NOTHING’S DAMAGED??? MY CONFIDENCE IS WHAT’S DAM… no, COMPLETELY SHATTERED!!!! That’s it, I’m done, I can’t. This is too much.

Dad noticed my white knuckles.

“You ok?”

“We nearly died! Died I tell you!! I can’t do this Dad, I’ve had enough.”

“Ok, it’s ok.” He patted my knee. “I’m actually glad you had this experience because it gave you a feel for how unnerving it is to lose control of the vehicle. And we weren’t even going that fast! Cars have a lot of momentum, even at low speeds.”

I slouched in my seat with a scowl.

Who decided it was a good idea to stick a person in a bubble of metal, glass, plastic, and rubber and have them careen down roads at speeds never before imagined for thousands of years??? And then what doofenhouser thought it would be ok to have teenagers do it??? He ought to be stoned!!!

“Alright, just back up, proceed safely around the roundabout, and stop at that sign.” Dad patted my shoulder. “I’ll drive us home.”

As Dad drove, I stared out the window, chewing my lip, and thinking sarcastic thoughts.

Well, at least I now have an experiential knowledge of centrifugal force. Who knows, maybe next week I’ll learn about the doppler effect of police sirens.

Coincidentally, my prayer life dramatically increased over the next few days.


To this day roundabouts make me nervous! What do you think of roundabouts? 
Have you ever driven off the road? 


  1. Great second chapter! I like it when she talks to herself! Did that actually happen to you??

    1. Thanks! She tends to do that a lot. :) Yes, I did indeed drive off the road while trying to drive around a roundabout.

  2. I don't like round abouts at all. They are such pains, and are in ridiculous places sometimes. There's a roundabout downtown that I just kinda drive over the bump on, and another one too, I can think of. One time, there was a round about with four different exits, and since I didn't know which one to take, I just continued driving in a circle for a couple rounds. Lol.


    1. I know, they can be super confusing!! I've even driven on a roundabout that had two lanes. Thank goodness my dad was in the front seat directing me.

  3. Oh my, haha! You are brave for sharing all this. I relate to being worried about vehicles behind me and panicking about passing a car for the first time. And two-lane roundabouts still aren't my favourite. 😕

    1. I don't know about brave, but thanks! Glad it's relatable. :)

  4. I SO remember the trauma of trying to keep my eyes on the road and not being able to look at my speedometer without swerving!

    1. YES! I never realized there were so many things to pay attention to while driving!

  5. I really didn't like people following me, and I still don't. I prefer to have the road to myself. I don't know if I've ever met anyone who likes roundabouts... They've installed roundabouts on University Avenue in Waterloo, and they really just make everything so much more complicated.

    1. Yup, same. Especially in this area, people like to follow really close and it always makes me nervous. Yeah, my dad says roundabouts are better than stop signs, but I'm not so sure...

  6. Ahhh I love your writing style, and this was so entertaining to read lol. Can't wait for the next chapter!! Looove this series.