Tuesday, November 28, 2006

From "fearless" to being afraid

Ailei sent an e-mail just a few days ago about something she read on babycenter.com.

Of the "30 things that change when you have a baby", one of it is:
Where you once believed you were fearless, you now find yourself afraid.

What was most coincidental about Ailei's e-mail was that I've been meaning to write about a recent experience on the road with my Chevrolet Spark. (It doesn't look that great here; the green is really very bright--it's the shade of the green traffic light when it lights up.)

We bought it so I can send Kai to my mom-in-law's place every morning, and bring him home after work. It's a really lovely car and very pleasant to drive.

Shortly after we bought it, I noticed that there are a lot of what I'd call "big car bigots" (BCB) around. They just don't like to be behind smaller cars--never mind that you're travelling just as fast as they are. Granted, small cars don't have a lot of horsepower and certainly can't go as fast as the bigger cars. But if the smaller car is going at the same speed as they are, I really don't see a need to act disparagingly.

I usually keep to the second lane on the expressways during off peak period. But traffic on the PIE in the morning is understandably quite heavy and I find that I can travel at 90-100 km/h on the first lane--very much in tune with the traffic flow there. But the BCBs just can't stand a smaller car in front of them, especially if you've switched from the second and onto the first, in front of them. Many love to overtake me, just so that they can be "one car ahead".

I wouldn't care if I don't have Kai in the car. But he IS in the car and it does bother me that people drive like that. However, something happened about a week ago that made me feel, for the first time, afraid of driving.

It was about 7.30pm, dark and raining. I just picked him up and was travelling home on the ECP. I was initially on the first lane but decided to switch to the second lane and slow down as the rain got heavier. A taxi, also in the second lane, which was MORE than five cars behind me flashed his headlights. I thought well, maybe it wasn't intented for me and that it was an accident. Then before I knew it, another car on the third lane zoomed up and decided to switch to the second lane without checking his blind spot, and almost hit me.

I had to brake, horn, slow down (not necessarily in that order!) and just then, the taxi behind me flashed again. This time, he was rather close and I was pretty sure by then that the flashes were intended for me. I never felt so afraid. The visibility was bad, the road slippery and I had Kai soundly asleep in the car. The taxi overtook me in the end.

Before I became a mom, my heart might skip a beat if I encountered a bad situation like this but I was never afraid. Things are different now: It doesn't matter if something happened to me that night, but I would just die if anything happened to him. I was quite shaken after that... I was really, really scared!

So I think I'm a less gung-ho driver now. And I don't care if people say I drive like a "woman". I just want Kai to arrive at his destination safely.

Anyway, seriously... it's really not due to my driving that I have people overtaking me etc. When driving the Spark, Terence too had a taxi flash at him for cutting into his lane although we were so far ahead of the taxi.

Terence showed the taxi driver a finger. Maybe dads are never afraid.


Cory said...

they say life changes after one becomes a parent. i guess the saying is true!

daddies are afraid - but they are also more vocal, too :) having said that, it's wise not to show middle fingers - may end up with an unwelcomed lawsuit!!

Anonymous said...

actually, not true - ie. not small car. just polite driving. i used to drive my dad's old merc and signalled nicely, drive carefully (not my car what) etc. and all taxis, trucks and ah bengs will honk at me. and do watch the finger - that's S$10,000 worth! rgds - kjj


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