Thursday, October 6, 2011

Driving on the Left Side of the Road- by Erma Bombeck

I suppose a lot of you think your ancestors came to America to escape religious and political persecutions, don't you?  Did it ever occur to you that these brave emigrants migrated to the New World so they could drive on the right side of the road?

My husband and I have just returned from a vacation to a British owned island (New Zealand) where drivers drive on the left (wrong) side of the road, and frankly, we are lucky to be alive.

From the moment we climbed into the rental car, we sensed something was wrong.  My husband said, "Where's my steering wheel?  I said, "I have it."  I thought you didn't want to drive.  "Crawl over the gear shift and it's yours."  He eased the car out of the parking lot and into the traffic.  I'm here to tell you, we have lived life in the slow land, and life in the fast lane, but until you have spent a few weeks in the left lane, you have nothing to talk about.  Every time a car approached, my husband came to a dead stop and shut his eyes until it passed.  Everything about the car defied familiarity.  When he tried to turn on the lights he succeeded in releasing the hood.  When the windshield wipers began racing back and forth, I asked,  "What are you doing?"  Signaling for a left turn, he said.  In the entire two weeks we were there, we never passed another car, put our car in reverse, parallel parked, or made a right hand turn.  About the 50th time I told him he was drifting to the wrong side of the road, he reminded me that he was doing the best he could while I just sat there and sucked in my breath.  That's when I exploded,  "Being a passenger in this car is no day at the beach!" I said, "I have been flogged to death by tree branches, drenched by gutter water and have seen fear in the eyes of pedestrians that will haunt me for the rest of my life."  I don't know why the Europeans make it so hard on themselves to drive.  They've got enough problems without driving on the wrong side of the road.  I'm just glad my ancestors dreamed of a new land...a land where passengers didn't have to impale themselves on the brake to get to their seats...where you didn't have to be left-handed to shift gears, and where the tranquility of the country side was not interrupted by the hysterical wife shouting to her husband,  "Idiot!  We're turning left!  Put on your windshield wipers!"

This was given to us the other night by a New Zealander.  Elder McVey kids Don that he must be praying a lot because when we go down a narrow crowded street where there are usually a lot of cars there are no cars and all the cars on the street have their mirror put in.  It's as though Heavenly Father is looking over us.  However, Don it doing a great job it just seems strange to me to be on the other side.  Every time I get in the car I want to put my foot on the brake and my hands on the steering wheel. I even sometimes as a passenger go the driver's side of the car and Don will just laugh.  Hopefully, I will get use to it.

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