Thursday, August 19, 2010

driving mr. lazy

P.J. O' Rourke loves cars.

So do I.

P.J.'s most recent book (Driving Like Crazy) is a love story -- between a boy and his standard transmission.  I highly recommend it.

Here is a taste:
Cars fulfilled the ideal of America's founding fathers.  Of all the truths we hold self-evident, of all the unalienable rights with which we are endowed, what's most important to the American dream?  It's right there in the Declaration of Independence: freedom to leave!  Founding fathers, can I have the keys?

With the exception of two short splint-handicapped jaunts in Melaque, I have not driven a vehicle since I drove north to Puerto Vallarta to zip across canyons -- and meet my medical destiny.  It was a nice four-hour farewell to driving.  Five months ago.

Since my return, I have been dependent upon the kindness of friends to cart my ever-increasing body from place to place.  To work.  To the doctor.  To physical therapy.  To shop.

But that may all be coming to an end.

As of yesterday, I am back in the driver's seat.

I borrowed a friend's car to drive to Safeway to fill a prescription.  I could have walked.  But I wanted to see if my ankle was ready for chauffeur duty.

It is.  At least, I had no trouble on that short drive.

Two concerns kept me out of the driver's seat: lack of motion in my ankle and discomfort with pressure.

I learned to drive an automatic transmission using only my right foot.  Moving between the accelerator and the brake pedal.  The problem was what might happen if I needed to use foot pressure with emergency braking.

So, I waited.

Yesterday I decided I was ready to fledge -- I thought.

On Friday, I am driving over to Bend with my mother to spend the weekend with my brother and his family.  I intend to use my best litigation skills to persuade her to let me drive.  (And that sentence shows an extreme lack of judgment.  As you know, my mother is a frequent reader and commenter of this blog.  Hi, Mom.)

If my next post is from the hospital, you will know just how it turned out.


Mic said...

LOL...Know how you are feeling - being "cleared for take off" only last Thursday after a 3 month driving hiatus. It's more tiring that I remember. I rather liked being chauffered....but it's nice not having to wait for someone else to take me when I'm ready to go :-)

Happy Trails to You.

Chrissy y Keith said... had to learm to use only your right foot for both pedals???? I was taught that using only the right foot was proper.

Anonymous said...

Salem, lock up your pets and children. The eccentric Cotton is loose again. It is good to hear.


Anonymous said...

"It is hard to say all things are well/when the worst is about to happen./It is fatal to woo yourself, no matter how graceful the posture."

T. Roethke

Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- I really enjoyed the freedom. But I forgot about the constant need to look for potential bogies.

Chrissy -- I was unclear in my prose. I have always driven with only my right foot. Someone suggested I use my left foot to brake. But it felt odd.

Horst -- Funny.

Anonymous -- And I thought I could be dark now and then.

Anonymous said...


I imagine your using the left of anything would feel "odd" to you.


1st Mate said...

I was taught always to use the right foot for both. Otherwise, it's too easy to accidentally hit both pedals simultaneously, causing damage to the car's braking and gear systems.