Back in the mid 90’s, when I was a little girl, my father drove a grey Volkswagen Golf 2 GTI. I doted upon my father and although I was very much the girly girl like my mother, Da was my superhero. I wanted to be just like him and in so many ways I am my father’s daughter.
Young Leandra (my family doesn’t call me Gabriela) was always with the guys. Zitto (my father’s nickname back in the 90’s) had such dope friends back in the day and it was cool getting to chill with them and sometimes they had daughters my age who I could play with. My father was always the jokester in the mix, never without a hilarious anecdote to tell (told as if it were true but we can’t really be certain). He’s still like that, he’s easy to give your heart to.
I vividly remember asking my father to leave the car door unlocked so I could get in and sit in the driver seat. From a young age, I imagined what it would be like to have a car because cars aren’t only for boys you know. I also recall the absolute panic that set in the first time I ever locked the steering wheel, just to come to find that it wasn’t a big deal, phew.
Buying my first car
When I finally entered a tax bracket that allowed me to purchase a car I knew it was time. I’d pondered and researched and after a referral to Roxanne at WV Westgate (she’s the bomb diggity) I was about to become a first-time car owner. I’ve always had an affinity for Volkswagen, it’s the car I remember when I think of my father. So my first brand choice was a no-brainer.
Getting my first car was a big deal because I’ve always despised the concept of public transport. My father always took me everywhere and at some point, I got to the age where I needed to get myself around. The idea of taking a taxi always made me anxious, with shady characters, smelly strangers, drunk men wanting to talk too much, drivers whose stares gave me chills that ran down my spine, overly excited Christians wanting to discuss how Christ has changed their lives, cigarette bekke and doors that fall off their hinges mid-exit. It was just too much for me to do.
Owning a car was a dream I’d worked hard for and manifested and it comes with so much responsibility and independence.
Getting to know her
I picked her up on the 1st of June (she’s a Gemini) and I remember the anxiety I’d built up on the day. When I laid my eyes on her I was bursting with sheer joy, the day I’d obsessed about for so long was finally here. I pulled out of the dealership with my mother in the passenger seat, scared out of her mind (my driving has improved significantly since then).
Clutch control was a bitch at first and I’d been caught in a couple of embarrassing moments (with other drivers watching). The trick is to remain calm, to know that the clutch moves the car and the accelerator is for power. It’s kind of an art and a science. Lauren (my sister) says to tap it which really helps me a lot.
Ashwin (my fiancé) has been in a couple of frightening driving situations with me, but he takes it like a champ and I appreciate that he just keeps quiet through most of it now.
Keeping calm on these streets
Driving can be very stressful, especially in traffic but if you master the clutch control and remain calm it can be easy as Sunday morning.
I recently drove over a speed hump so fast I almost cried, sometimes I rev her too loudly and I always feel bad afterward, but beginner drivers are bound to fuck up from time to time, be patient with us (and please don’t ask me for a lift, fuel is expensive).
Here are some first-time driver tips for those of you that need it;
- Respect the rules of the road (Ashwin loves this line)
- Indicate fokken
- Check your blind spot
- Follow the speed limit (I expect to be humbled by a ticket or two soon)
- Remain calm dammit
- Be confident babes
- Don’t drive drunk you bastards
- The car guards know what they’re talking about, just do what they say with parallel parking
- Find the proper seating position for you and a boss playlist for jamming
- … and lastly, don’t break unnecessarily, it’s annoying!
Thanks for reading, until next time, don’t have too much pride, put the car in neutral when you’re going downhill. LOL.