I’m not much of a driver. I am a decent driver (yes, I’ve been in accidents, none of which were my fault, so there), but unlike my brother and my Dad, I don’t particularly enjoy it. I also suck at navigation and self-orientation, which doesn’t help. (I do not drive when away on vacation.)
Once upon a time, driving down to KW from home (Grey County) was hard for me. I could deal with the back roads and such, but driving In The City freaked me out. Expressway? Immediately blood pressure escalation.
Yes, my city-born friends may now mutter “hayseed” under their breath, given that, as kids, their driveways probably had more lanes than the expressway.
Then time marched on, and I got familiar with driving around the K-dub, especially once I lived here, and Toronto became my motorway bete noire. I’m still not a fan of the 401, but it doesn’t really scare me, unless I get boxed in by transports. I don’t think anyone enjoys that.
Or there was one time in university when I was coming up to KW from TO for an Oktoberfest weekend and had to make the drive in an insane snow/thunderstorm and it took over three hours (it’s usually an hour-ish). Liquor was consumed immediately upon arrival, and not for recreational purposes…
But these days there are a handful of places I typically go in TO, and have driven to a number of times (hi, Helen’s condo!) and am fine driving down. It’s just when I am going somewhere I’ve never been before, and am not sure where, exactly, I’m heading that things get rough. Especially if the directions are not pinpoint accurate. Then I get — as James so diplomatically stated when I got us lost going to Niagara Falls — tense.
So this morning I had to go down to one of our Toronto offices for some training. Had decent directions, but had never been there before. It was also raining, and I’d have to drive during morning rush hour. Whee. Aside from not really looking forward to the drive or what I was being trained on, however, I felt okay, not freaked out or anything.
The drive was pretty uneventful. It stopped raining around Milton, and even the slow spots weren’t terrible. The directions seemed to be correct and fairly detailed, which was nice.
Then my brain turned exit #375 into #385, and I missed my turn-off. Crap. Lots of traffic, heart pounding. Okay, just get off at the next exit. So I did. From the intersection I was stopped at, I saw a sign for the 401 West, which would get me back to the highway, so I managed to scoot over, take the exit, and I was back in business. My next turn-off was only moments after that, and from there I was golden. Even found a totally sweet spot in visitor parking.
So after the training, I confirmed there were no quirks in how I’d get back to the highway, except I managed to end up on the 404 North rather than South (I forgot to wait til I was over the bridge to take the exit). I had misgivings fairly soon, but kept going until I was sure I was heading to Markham. Don’t wanna go to Markham.
And so again I turned off, saw a sign for the 404 South, turned left at the intersection, and I was back on the highway, which neatly took me right back to where I needed to be. Lost at least 20 minutes, but whatever, I was on the road and hadn’t freaked out. The rest of the drive was boring, but successful. (And Happy Meals tasted WAY better when I was a kid.)
Of course, then I got back and couldn’t get my VPN working, so I couldn’t get any work done at home, and the help desk guy was completely useless, but, hey, at least the driving part went okay.
I am quite proud of myself. 🙂