Sunday, April 19, 2009

Driving Lesson

When I started driving my car, I was always asked this question by my friends: “Wow, your parents allow you to drive on your own?! But you’re only 17/18/19?!” Okay, it was more of a statement than a question. And then my answer to them would be, “Yeah, my parents trust me enough.” And then they would usually add, “Your parents are cool.”

Yup, I always glowed with pride every time I hear my friends say that. My parents are cool. I only need one week of ‘probation’ with my dad after I got my license before I was allowed to drive all around KL and beyond alone. It’s not that they don’t love me and I was given the freedom to do anything I want to, no. Instead, it is the total opposite. I know they love me and they trust me. They know I have always wanted to drive since I was twelve and my dad’s rule was simple back then. Yes I can drive, but he will never allow me to do so unless and until I got my driving license because he wouldn’t want me to get into trouble with the authority. So once I got my license, there’s no holding me back. They shall just pray to God I will arrive at my destination in one piece.

Yes, my parents are cool. But they’re not stupid. I was only seventeen when I got my driving license; a seventeen year old girl driving among adult KL drivers. There are only two things to worry about: one of the KL drivers hit me or I hit one of the KL drivers, or worse, if I have a run in with the police. My parents can’t control these things. If it happened it happened. But are these things to stop me from enjoying my right and privilege to drive? If so, when then will be the right time for me to start? Will the time come when they will not have to worry? Accidents can happen anytime, and anywhere, to anyone. Fine, they can only allow me to drive when I turn twenty. But what difference would that make? I would be wiser, yes, but not in driving necessarily because how can I be wise in something if I don’t experience it? How can I ‘know better’ if I don’t make mistakes and learn? I thought that’s how someone is supposed to become better at something?

Uh-huh, I had three parking offenses, two speeding tickets, stopped by the police twice for running the red light, once for speeding, and once went to the Sepang court for not having a valid road tax. I am guilty of all these offenses. Maybe if my dad did not allow me to drive I would be RM500 richer. Or, I would be RM500 richer until I make those mistakes, eventually. Does that mean that my parents are irresponsible for not waiting for me to become ‘wiser’ at driving? I may have made those mistakes but I am a thousand times better than a person who’s just starting to drive now.

A month after I got my driving license my dad surprised me with a car of my own. True, it is not a Saga, Neo, Savvy, Myvi, or any other –vi. Instead, my first car is a little Kancil of how many hands down, I have no exact idea. My point is I was so happy to just have a car for me to be able to drive to school! I don’t need a brand new car. I don’t need a ‘big’ car. All I need is something that has an engine and tires so that I can go to NZ Curry house anytime I want to meet my friends. I am, quite frankly, a simple girl. As long as I can get from A to Z I am happy. Sounds like I’m a spoiled daughter that gets all that she wants, eh? My parents have the extra money and I’m their last child. A simple gift is not much when you only have two kids.

If I want to follow the adat of society, I would only take driving classes after SPM as what most of my friends did. And then once I passed I need to ‘test drive’ with my parents by my side for a year minimum – as what most of friends did. And then I will have to push that ‘skill’ aside until I am able to afford my own car. The question is, why didn’t my parents do that? It’s so simple. Because I’m not like most of my friends. I did not obtain my driving license just for the sake of getting it; I seriously love driving. I wanted to drive since I was young because I want to know that I can be independent. All I need are the support of my parents and the trust that I can take care of myself.

My parents are cool because they have always trusted me and my instincts.

So then, why is this time any different?


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