Sunday, October 15, 2006

8 September: The Billy Kane Beaumont

I own a car. In fact, I am in possession not only of a car, but of a
license. And it is a source of great pride. It reads 'Driver License
Australian Capital Territory.' I keep it in my wallet in front of my
old New York Driver License and I love flashing it at bouncers and
bartenders throughout the county and watching them with a little bit
of confusion as they try to reconcile my accent with my license! That
license is my ticket to fitting in, to calling Australia home, and
though I certainly would be devastated to see it taken away, I have to
wonder sometimes 'who gave it to me?!' I mean, I learned to drive on
the right side of the road (some would say the correct side, but I
mean right, as in right/left). How difficult is it to follow
traffic patterns, some might ask? Perhaps people overestimate how
intelligent foreigners are. You see a car in front of you, you stay
behind it, hopefully at least one of you will be a native and be
traveling in the correct lane, no?

This morning, however, I pulled out of my driveway to discover there was no one else traveling down the road. It was early, I was tired, and for a good 15 seconds I pondered which lane I was supposed to pull my car into. 'The left one, the left one', my brain repeated, but I was paralyzed, all of sudden I couldn't tell my left from my right. Feeling unsure and overwhelmed I pressed on the gas and hoped for the best. I pulled out onto the empty street and was relieved to see a car traveling in the opposite direction in the opposite lane. A small step in my quest to
become Australian, a huge victory for road safety!


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