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Akkare V: Driving here in America

March 4, 2009

This weekend was great fun! My friend, the illustrious, inimitable Mr. DPS, my college roommate for four years had come down from Chicago to LA. For public safety reasons, I am not giving you his full name which is longer than the Nile!!

And it was only during this week, did I realize that I have not done a post on driving here in America. Driving here is so different than from India. At times, it feels good and at times, it gets boring. Most of the cars here are automatic and a real car aficionado like me would not like it. I like manual transmission cars which give the driver a lot more control and flexibility while driving, but as I found out this weekend, Automatic transmission cars are a boon for people like my friend DPS who has just “Earned” his driving license.

Mr. DPS is a peculiar person or in other words, a quintessential arse! While sense rules the world, nonsense rules his world and I have now discovered that his limbs do not listen to his brain.
For example, when common sense would clearly state that he should slow down, his leg would press the accelerator and when his common sense might rule that 45 mph is a tad too slow on the expressway; his leg would press the brake. When we ask him to take the “right” lane, his arms would interpret that as “left” and vice versa.
According to him, driving on the right side of the road is the problem and not his sense of direction.
That ladies and gentlemen, is Mr. DPS for you in a nutshell; a person who will never accept his mistakes, as silly as they may be.

We had a grant time pulling his leg this weekend, and we had a harder time when it came to him driving. Since he had just received his license two weeks back, he was all geared up to drive and would not let any of us touch the steering wheel and it was Hilarious with a capital “H” (yeah we had insurance on the car)….

In the normal universe, driving might be something like this:
But in DPS’s parallel universe, the experience was totally different:
As you can all see, it took all of five mortals to drive the compact sized car and DPS would refuse to give us the key either. So we were caught between 100 % chance of DPS whining and a 50 % chance of going to the hospital and we chose the latter.

These Americans came with up with a rule long back, that all cars need to follow lane discipline and people generally don’t cut across lanes like we Indians do but as usual DPS was above the law. He cut across lanes without giving prior warning, drove in between two lanes; made an old lady cry and scowled when given advice. He also managed to drive on the left side of the road once and when we gently reminded him that it was not India, he followed that up with a smile as if to tell us that he meant to do it.

The driver also does not exactly inspire confidence when he asks questions like these:

1. “Can I change the lane now? Is it all clear behind?”
2. ”Can I drive at 100 mph (with a stupid grin)”
3. “What kind of signal system is this? I cannot understand it”
4. “How do I put the car into reverse?”
5. “What is this? Referring to the dim light button”
6. “Can I take a U-turn here?”

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am charmingly surprised that we escaped without a scratch or a dent even though we must have had a thousand curses hurled at us!!!!
And I leave you all with this photo of mine taken during this weekend (hollywood mountain):

38 Comments leave one →
  1. Bones permalink
    March 5, 2009 5:21 am

    And all those jokes about how bad women are as drivers!:-)

    I too like manual shifts – I remember once I was driving down from RI to NYC and I fell asleep for a second (I blame the monotony and a full stomach)and veered a bit…Thankfully, the honks woke me in time to avoid a major accident…

  2. Aathira permalink
    March 5, 2009 6:02 am

    Now maybe I should start my driving adventures again! Then I can update on what happens when women drive on bad-traffic-Bangalore roads!

  3. hitch writer permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:11 am

    driving and rules dont match do they ??

    DPS knows it better !!


  4. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:24 am

    yeah Bones… LOL… 🙂

    good for you that you woke up…
    and as you say, some men are just not born to drive…. 🙂

    Aathira, LOL…. bangalore is a great place… 🙂 i love it and I love driving there when there is no traffic…. 🙂 (which never happens)…
    My fav drive is chennai-bangalore highway

    LOL Hitchwriter,
    they do not match in India… over here, they will give you a ticket and a court appearance… 🙂
    and bribes dont work here LOL

  5. Winnie the poohi permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:50 am

    Ah how much fun!

    Now It inspires me to learn driving.. I cant drive even a cycle 😛

  6. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 8:58 am

    🙂 Winnie, u should… 🙂

  7. Kislay permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:05 am

    Great story man . You have the gift for humour . 🙂

  8. Reflections permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:07 am

    Aince I share certain similarities with DPS I shall refrain from commenting;-P

    Ps: the graphic descriptions were a hoot tho:-D

  9. Reflections permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:10 am

    And ur picture gives too much away.

    Be careful…..people will start recognising u on the streets & u'll find it difficult to maintain ur ordinary guy status;-o.

  10. Indyeah permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:15 am

    You have a funny bone You really do:D
    and a knack for getting out the humour in ordinary situations*though DPS sounds anything but ordinary*:D

    LOL@“Can I change the lane now? Is it all clear behind?”

    ROTFL at the second illustration!
    Ho did you guys get out with your hearts still beating?:D

    and very bollywoodish/hollywoodish snap that one 😛
    *grudgingly admits*it is a cool one though..the pic that is:P

  11. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:17 am

    🙂 thanks Kislay…
    i appreciate it…:) but my friends happen to be so funny…. 🙂

    ahem…i see…. so you must sympathize with DPS…. 🙂 LOL

    Thanks regarding pics…
    and I did not know that there was new technology in the market wherein ones facial characteristics can be generated from the back of his head… 😛 LOL
    and even if people see my face, “Ordinary Guy” status will become “Just another OG”…. 🙂

  12. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:20 am

    LOL… 🙂 Indyeah..

    gee…Thanks!!! hehehehehehe

    yes, we survived the weekend with our hearts in our mouth… but it was better than DPS’s whining…. 🙂

    and yeah, pics with me in it are always cool… 🙂 LOL thanks

  13. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:21 am

    and before i forget indyeah…”:P”

  14. Indian Home Maker permalink
    March 5, 2009 11:43 am

    ROTFL DPS reminds me of my early driving experiences 🙂 The kids and I went practice driving and they learnt a lot about traffic and driving during those drives, while guiding me 🙂

    This was really funny Ajit, loved the illustrations the best. I almost thought this was a page out of a school text book!!

  15. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 3:43 pm

    🙂 lol ihm….
    thanks… yes, driving initially can be fun and a pain

  16. Kislay permalink
    March 5, 2009 5:38 pm

    You deserve it dude . The illustrations were kickass . 😀

  17. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 5:39 pm

    Thanks dude 🙂

  18. Solilo permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:06 pm

    I hate driving. Yes! I do. I would any day prefer the passenger seat with some snacks and chatter away to glory.

    You write very well, Ajit. Humor is your forte.

  19. Solilo permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:09 pm

    BTW can we see your face by reversing the picture?


  20. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:10 pm

    🙂 Solilo… I prefer driving… as i would rather trust my life in my hands… 🙂 I make a very bad passenger…. 🙂

    Thanks!!! Solilo, Thanks a lot…

  21. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 7:11 pm

    you can, if you have the technology…. 🙂 or I can post a decent looking photo of mine… 🙂

  22. amit permalink
    March 5, 2009 8:47 pm

    I think it would be fairly difficult to drive on the wrong side of the road. So, you took a great risk! 🙂
    You are lucky that you did not get a ticket! 🙂

  23. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 8:51 pm

    🙂 Amit,
    life mein kabhi kabhi risk lena padta hai!!!!

  24. J P Joshi permalink
    March 5, 2009 9:43 pm

    You know, we Indians know how to drive; the rest of the world just follows lanes and rules. What do they about driving???

  25. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 5, 2009 10:07 pm

    🙂 JPJ Sir…. yes indeed… 🙂

  26. vimmuuu permalink
    March 6, 2009 5:31 pm

    LOL. Reminded me of the scene from Thalayanamantram where Maamukkoya teaches Srinivasan how to drive!! Break evide, break evide, clutcho, clutch evide !! 😀

  27. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 6, 2009 5:46 pm

    🙂 Vimmuu

  28. anrosh permalink
    March 6, 2009 11:37 pm

    your diagrams with facial expressions would have been the first driving story in pictures 🙂

  29. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 6, 2009 11:53 pm

    🙂 LOL anrosh…

  30. kanaguonline permalink
    March 9, 2009 3:43 am

    LOL Ajit 🙂 when I started my driving classes it is just like you have mentioned. I think that I am holding the steering perfectly. But the jeep will go in all possible directions in that road. I am yet to get my licence.. 🙂

  31. Renu permalink
    March 9, 2009 4:42 am

    you are lucky on various counts like..u came out unscathed
    u didnt get any ticket, which u get there in a jiffy:)

  32. Ashwathy permalink
    March 9, 2009 6:02 am

    LOL.. loved the use of ur diagrams. anyway congrats on a successful road trip.. with role play as DJ and GPS navigator! 😛

  33. Chirag permalink
    March 9, 2009 8:37 am

    I guess, grass is always greener on the other side, after reading this, i want to drive at a really high speed on my bike, but them I am in bangalore.

  34. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 9, 2009 4:36 pm

    LOL kanagu, best of luck.. 🙂

    🙂 renu, yes we were…

    Thanks Aswathy… 🙂 btw, do you have a blog?

    🙂 Chirag, you can drive in bangalore in a few selected spots… 🙂 at night…. 🙂

  35. Ashwathy permalink
    March 9, 2009 5:17 pm

    yep… its
    i’ve blogrolled u btw 🙂

  36. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 9, 2009 5:31 pm

    Hey Aswathy, Thanks… I am honoured…
    But I am not able to access the link… 😦

  37. Chirag permalink
    March 10, 2009 7:39 am

    Sadly selected spots are unsafe these days man 😦

  38. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 10, 2009 8:12 pm

    🙂 Chirag

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