Just a Wee Bit Nervous

Still in Santa Rosa.

October 3, 2018


Okay.  I’m a bit nervous.

It’s been a while, okay?

The first time? Oh, I don’t know. I was young, inexperienced.  I didn’t know. I’d never done it before, but my brother John was screaming instructions to me with a walkie talkie.  The second time?  I think Ian just did it and Mark and I watched. And the last time? All I remember was closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and putting what little faith I have in the hands of an all-knowing, all-seeing,  totally amused and totally uncaring God.

You’ve been there. You’re no virgin. You know what I’m talking about, right? Wink, wink . . . nod, nod . . . say no more.

Dancing? No.

Sex? Eeeeeuuuu. I’m close to my brother but walkie talkie guidance?

Come on people. Get your mind out of the gutter and onto the road. I’m talking. . .




You know. Scotland . . . Ireland . . .left side of the road? Final resting place for rearview mirrors. Roads the width of your thigh.  Stick shift dyslexia.  Roundabouts that flow like a toilet in Buenos Aires. (Maybe, that’s Alberta . . . I can never keep straight which way the water flows in which hemisphere.)  You know. Ireland! Where shoulders are stone walls and the only thing on a straightaway  separating you from certain death is your own uncertainty on where the right side of your car is in relation to the right side of the car bearing down on you.

That’s what I’m talking.

See, this time I don’t have my brother John, out front with his fam in a VW Van, barking instructions to my kids on the walkie talkie, “Tell your dad to take  the nine o’clock on the roundabout. Maybe it’s the three o’clock.” “Which one Uncle John???”  “Oh hell, tell him to make it 6:30” I don’t have Ian, who must have taken his first driver’s test at the Ross ancestral DMV in Dornoch, to drive for Mark and me ( or is it Mark and I? I think it’s “me” because it follows a preposition).  And I can’t close my eyes in the back seat like I did on the last golf junket  while John’s golf buddy Art screamed down straightaways talking up a storm on the way to Ballybunnion .

No, this time, I’m alone. As in A LONE. As in “you’re on your own, doofus” alone.

So, I’ve done what all resourceful red blooded single men do when encountering a life- threatening crisis.

Google it.

Yep. Says right here in the August 2018  edition of Smarter Travel there are “15 Tips for Driving on the Left Side of the Road.”

Let’s read on . . .

Tip No. 1 . . . “Get an automatic transmission.” Check.

Tip No. 2 . . . “Take it easy.”    I AM TAKING IT EASY.

Tip No. 3 . . . “Get to know your car.” That’s a good one. I figure at least an hour in the parking garage at Edinburgh International. Then, I’ll put it in “drive”.

Tip No. 4 . . . “Be careful at the beginning of each day”   Right . . . I’m thinking that “beginning” would be  the same “beginning” that follows the jet lagged   sleepless “end” of the previous day?   Got it.

Tip No. 5 . . . “Allow Extra Time.”   Come on; didn’t we cover that in Tip No. 3. I’ve got a tee time at Portrush.

Tip No. 6 . . . “Don’t distract yourself”    You’re not referring to my nifty new air vent mounted  iPhone holder I ordered from Amazon that Ian told me was a must to monitor my Google Map whereabouts, are you?

Tip No. 7 . . . “Put your Copilot to Work” and the corollary Tip No. 12Let Someone Else Drive at First” . Uhhhhhh………..hmmmmm…….did I mention I will be playing as a single?

Tip No. 8 . . . “Beware the Roundabout” . . . Says here, “get your wits about you before entering one.”   Hmmmmm……..”wits” you say?…………I don’t know; I could be wrong . . . but I’m thinking stopping to………how did you put it? . . . “gather my wits” might not go over too well with that lorry driver climbing up my ass.


Let’s fast forward . . . “Be Careful About Pedestrians on your Left” . . . “Make Stop Signs Your Friend” . . . . here’s a good one under “Use Caution with Mirrors” . . . says “it can be jarring to look out the left-side mirror and see parked cars whizzing by.”    YOU MEAN THEIR PARKED CARS MOVE TOO??

Crap. This place is a death trap.

Okay, one last one. Says here, under the heading “Accept that You’ll Make Mistakes”,  “get yourself into a safe spot and figure out how to get yourself back on the correct side of the road.”

No metaphor there. Thank you Editors at Smarter Travel.  That’s exactly what I’m after. A safe spot where I can figure out how to get back on the right . . . I mean “correct” . . . side of the road.

Hey Siri . . . .where’s the nearest pub?

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