I Gave Up My Bus Pass For This? - Driving in Victoria
14 Dec 2010 · by Brennan Storr · Be the first to comment!
Until this August it had been seven years since I’d driven an automobile. In some circles this declaration would be cause for games of celebratory hacky-sack and lengthy speeches about how everything cruel and savage in this world is powered by the internal combustion engine.
I’d like to say that my reasons were ideological. That I abstained because of some objection to the way Mother Earth has been viciously subjugated by the demoniac heralds of that brutal warlord Henry Ford. This would be a craven lie. In actual fact, for years I have simply been too lazy to take a driver’s test.
When I was younger, the process of getting into BC’s graduated licensing system seemed far too complex, like university or sexual politics. Also, I was living in Revelstoke, a town smaller than some American tourists. If it wasn’t walking distance, it wasn’t worth the time.
My outlook didn’t change after moving to the coast. Between B.C. Transit and the power of my own two feet, I was always able to arrive at places with more than enough time for everyone else to shuffle in 30 minutes late, adjusting their scarves and talking about “island time.”
Recently, however, the realization crept upon me that over the years I had traveled, offended honest, god-fearing people on several continents and yet could not drive to the Bird of Paradise for a plate of wings.
After plunging headlong into the graduated licensing system I am at the “N” stage. This means that I am allowed to drive alone so long as I do not wear a racing scarf or drive under the influence of The Fast & the Furious. While I am enjoying my newfound freedom to be caught in the Colwood Crawl some frustrations have made themselves known.
I was required to pass both a written and practical test in order to get this far. I was not the only person at the test centre, in actual fact there were a great number of people there. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that while I’m busy shoulder-checking, everyone else is apparently re-living the more exciting parts of Bullitt.
Last week, after following a truck for several blocks and watching it change lanes numerous times without any indication, I went home and googled “turn signals” to see if perhaps they were some kind of secret. On too many occasions I’ve nearly collided with pedestrians who confuse “crossing a busy street” with “stepping across their lounge to pick up the remote control.”
And as for the cyclists – I worry about them. I worry that all the fresh air and self-satisfaction is impairing their survival instinct. I say this because not a day goes by when, from nowhere, a bicycle shoots past me at a red light and blows the intersection as though a reduced carbon footprint was a free pass from God himself. I admire their commitment to their health and Mountain Equipment Co-Op, but the cold reality is that an inflamed sense of moral superiority will not save you from a speeding bumper.
It's only been six months since I've received my license, so really I've only seen a fraction of the road's horrors. What next? Sudden breakers? Texters? Giant seagulls with an overabundance of bran in their diets? Maybe I should just ask Santa for a bus pass.