Thursday 18 October 2007

Driving tension

Every bit of my muscle screams with pain. Every bone in my body is aching. I feel as if I had had three days and nights of stirring dodol over a hot stove. Truth of the matter is, I was nowhere near dodol, never mind stirring it. And truth of the matter is, I had been doing the raya rounds, being driven by my daughter who had just passed her driving test.

Thus the tension from the toes to the roots of my hair, which I believe must have turned grey all at once. Even in my sleep I keep applying the brakes. My knuckles go white as I grip the seat every time she approaches the traffic lights, but the last few days, I must admit that I was more relaxed and was able to drink coffee and at the same time give her directions. One positive outcome is that, my knowledge of left and right has improved. I cannot afford to get my left and right wrong. And I am also surprised at my ability to be patient.

As someone who failed not once but three times, I am really proud that she had actually passed after just one test. But what good is a license without a car? As a blogger friend was leaving for home, I decided to buy the car for her and that was when the worry and the tension started. It reminded me of the time Mak bought me my first mini bike. She’d sit on the swing daily waiting for my return from school. When Nona bought her first bike, her father followed her in the car till she got safely to school.

The new driver in the family is ever so willing to run errands; go to the shops, fetch us from the station and go anywhere to get herself familiar with the roads and the traffic.

I was working late one evening and after iftar, she offered to take me to my studio. That was fine because I was there to show her the way. But when I finished at 11pm, she and her sister were still circling Camden Town trying to get to me. It took them one hour.

The next day, she volunteered to fetch me again from the studio and this time guided by the over anxious father and over enthusiastic siblings in the car. The journey home, needless to say, took us all around north London, on a detour to west London.

It is very expensive to have a car in London. There’s the congestion fee to be paid - £8 – as soon as you enter a congestion fee area. Failure to pay that, the fine will double and multiply. Then there’s the petrol which the new driver still doesn’t pay for as she is still a student. Oh, did I mention the steep insurance for a young driver? All in all, what I have paid for over the past month since we got the car, is more than the cost of the car.

And yes, we had the most expensive raya this year when she lost the car keys just as we were about to leave for prayers. So, we left her at home to look for it. After prayers I left immediately to help her locate the keys but to no avail. We had to call the locksmith, who duly came and changed the lock, gave us another set of keys and I had to tearfully part with £170!!

Nowadays, I sit around waiting for the familiar sound of her car engine in the drive way. And most nights I wonder whether I did right by buying her the car. She had always been the most determined one. She washed dishes and cleared tables at the Malaysia Hall canteen to get her first scooter bike. She used her uni loan to pay for her driving lessons. And now that I had bought her the car, I sit and wait and pray for her safety.


The eager new driver just drove us to have nachos and ice cream and cheesecake when we all felt our tummy rumbling at 11 pm. I could really get used to this.


Honeytar said...

"nachos and ice cream and cheesecake" at 11 pm ??? That's a BIG sin for 11pm. perghh...

Congrats to the new ground pilot tho it cost a big hole in the pocket. :)

Unknown said...

KakTeh...That's another milestone eh...ain't you glad that you witness it and experience the torments of a worried mother? Hehehe...congratulation anyhow..she's now fully independent kan? reliable lagi tu kak...

ays_as said...

salam kak teh...

Selamat Hari raya..
Maaf Zahir & Batin..

udah ada supir ya ;) ..hehehe..
she will master the art of driving soon... :D

NorAiniJ said...

Salam Kak Teh,

Postlah some photos of Nona and the car..:D

Kak Elle said...

KT thats good to be chauffer driven kan?in no time she will be a very good driver:)

ps may meet kak dahlia this saturday at doc adah's open house.

Pi Bani said...

You failed 3 times?!! :)

Kak Teh said...

honeytar, the cheesecake was awesome!! Did a lot to calm my nerves.

raden galoh, worried is not the word I'd used - i was pulling my hair out.

ays-as, selamat hari raya to you too - raya seorang diri atau berdua?

Kak Teh said...

nj, i will try to do that - she'd protest of course - but I am the mother and I pay for the petrol, kan?

kak elle, I thought Dahlia is supposed to come back to London? Husband dia kata nak bawa dia balik ke sini.

pi bani - yes, three times! and I still dont drive - but strangely enough - I can always drive in my I can always swim in my dreams!

Mama Rock said...

oh kak teh...aren't all mums the the same? i wait till i hear freddy's bike rumble into the porch, baru senang hati.

Atok said...

wahhh... can fetch me flom Leading ah? lound tlip to Landen.


nanti balik, boleh drive naik gunung jeghai nooo :)

Blabarella said...

Enjoy it while it lasts!! After a while, the response to a request for nachos, ice cream and cheesecake at 11pm will either be "Penatlah Mama!" or "Cannotlah Mama, going out!" or "Ask adik to drive!" Hehehehe

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

I have 10 years to prepare myself for this. :D

I remember when I first got my license, siblings kept asking me to drive them around. Our age gap were significant. Parents loved it, saved them the time and energy.

Just enjoy the moment (and make sure u put aside some emergency money every month. hehehhe)

Nazrah Leopolis said...

...the things mama does for sayang mama! kopak poket, jantung luruh pun takper!

kina said...

Aaaahhhh the feeling of I am the master of my own journey just started... I am going to conquer the world (after I knock into some gates, parits and what not)

I remember my first car, Wira, dapat after painfully saving the money for the downpayment. The first thing I hit was my mom's gate! With a long scratch at the side of car that made my heart bleed everytime I see it.

Good Luck Kak Teh and Nona

Theta said...

I remember hitting on the imaginary brake on the passenger seat whenever my speed-demon twin sister or constantly-dazed younger brother drive. Especially when they fail to brake the right moment when there's a car upfront!

Every mother would be worried when their kids take to the car, but to be driven around is such a worthwhile perk! :)

LifeBloom said...

K Teh - even though I am not a parent, I identify with your nervousness et al when my sister started to drive at 28 after getting her licence at 17. She got the licence early on to appease my parents but becos dia penakut - tak nak drive langsung.

Until circa 11 years kater - after being bitten by a stray dog who took fancy to her chubby ankles - she finally cracked the nerve to drive.

Thus far she has scratched the car umpteenth times, dented the car twice, hit a motorcyclist once.

Alhamdullilah, these past two years she has been mishap-free....

Still - whenever she goes out to drive on her own - I would feel that familiar twinge of nervousness...

wonda said...

A thrilling experience, Kak Teh! You have a passenger or backseat driving licence!
We need to prove that we have a parking space or garage to buy a car in Japan.As for new car, after three years, we have to take the car for inspection and then once every two years. It costs an arm and a leg! Does this law apply to UK too?

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Kak Teh
I never sat for a driving test, never went for lessons!
Surely, being chauffered driven beats everything else.
I would think my Mak would be as anxious as you if I have gotten a driving licence and driving myself!

Hi&Lo said...

Aunty Choc @ Mrs AG,

I could feel your suspense. You failed 3 times tells me you did not pass with kopi lesen.

I took mine in the late 70's. My instructor told me to take a package to guarantee pass. I did and the rest is history. Now that I have confessed my sin, I feel better.

ManaL said...

Kak teh,

I for one never had any doubt much from my parents while driving on my L , P, full licence and so on. I dunno why but my father seemed to be more confident to sit back n relax while i 1st took turn as his pajero driver 11 years ago (20 years old) in shah alam. But that wasnt really the case for my other sisters. I think he had more confident in me then? And alhamdulillah i never scratched his car or hit anything else except last dec i plak got hit on the back of my own car by a cab. Alhamdulillah nothing serious so far and hopefully berkekalan like that forever!

PS: mcm mana kunci keta buleh hilang? tercicir ka apa?

jaflam said...

KT, my eldest is taking her SPM next month, but this Raya most her friends came for Raya to our house driving cars - one even with Volvo S40? Dia tengah pujuk my wife to go for driving lessons & test. Looks like eventually I have to give in once she is in University, since all her cousin is driving to Uni. We just have to train them to be responsible & accountable I suppose.

Pak Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
It is that expensive to drive in London eh? If it is so maybe the public transport is the best alternative.
I am glad I didnt suffer that sort of torment with my children when they learn how to drive. Maybe the lighter traffic in Malaysia and smaller sized cities compared to London helps.
Salam to Mr AG.

Mior Azhar said...

Kak Teh,
I hate driving... so's the wife. We resolve that the moment our Alia turns the legal age, we are sending to driving lesson. Only then kot we will rasa what you are experiencing today.

Kak Teh said...

mama rock, when will that feeling and anxiety go? will it ever go?

atok, who knows, one day, we'll come a knocking at your door!

blabs, so you think i shd enjoy this?

Kak Teh said...

ms istanbul, I think the local minicab office must be wondering where I am. I used to take their cabs most nights!

intan, i think i shd keep a log book - or an accounts books to see how much I have spent.

thanks kina, we had a scrape against a wall last week! i gope that that is all.

Kak Teh said...

theta, to be honest, yes, I enjoy being driven around now..even though i still cant relax a hundred percent.

Lifebloom, i hope the list stops there for your sister.

wonda, wow that is a very strict rule. Here - parking, congestion fee, insurance - MOT, everything is making driving expensive.

Kak Teh said...

fauziah, after guiding her around town, I feel now i can drive. Suddenly i have this urge to take my lessons again..what do you think?

hi&lo, i dont even have a lesen kedai kopi! nothing - i failed all and never bothered to do it again.

mana;. sampai sekarang tak jumpa kunci tu - kut ada toyol yang ambil.

Kak Teh said...

jaflam, let me know how you feel when she starts driving. Now my youngest has received his provisional license..what do i do??

zawi, I think if you can drive in Malaysia, you can drive anywhere. I think the traffic there is worse. Here I am not worried abt the traffic, but more about my new driver.

mior, oh dear..pls pls let me know who you feel when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

LOL you so farnie, in slp oso pasang break, but i better not laugh too much, in a few years my son oso will be driving and i probably will be lyk you.

Perakian in London said...

Kak Teh... mahal rantai dari beruk ya.. hehe.. u know what i'm referring to kan.. hehe
Sweden was great.. you should've been there.. but then again, even if u'd gone, u would be at a different wedding than ours..

Kak Teh said...

aiyo firehorse, i tell you - my left leg oredi so sakit and my friend said that there's already a hole where i keep braking!

lisa, i wish i was there! lain kenduri pun tak apalah!! yesm how true - the rantai more expensive than the beruk. Hope to make full use of both rantai and berok.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, now we know how our parents felt when we got our licence.

Was the car key found at all?

zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Biasalah bila baru dapat lesen, kedai sejengkal pun nak bawa kereta. Anak perempuan pun begitu mula-mula dapat lesen. Ambil adik dari sekolah pun dia rajin. sekarang pun masih gitu tetapi ada masanya perlu disuruh juga.

Count Byron said...

That is a lovely balance between convenience and the price to be paid ( safety, worries, locksmithery.. circling North London ), but I'm sure it will all come to pass and she will be so proud and grateful of your generosity; as always.

I like you KT

May you be blessed always


demonsinme said...


A worried mother is the best of all mothers.

It shows how much you love your family and what a bless family they are to have such a loving and concern mother like you.

PS: my mom till can't help worrying sick when i am behind the wheels.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
MAfter this, you better stretch your muscle first sebelum masuk kereta, supaya tak tergeliat time menekan the imaginary brake tuh, hahaha.


Hanafi Mohd Noor said...

Selamat hari raya kak teh.

J.T. said...

Hi Kak Teh

Reading this post reminds me of the first time I drove from Klang to Melaka. My mom sat in the back and slept off - probably nervous but pretending to be tired. hahaha. My dad was guiding me all the way i.e. how to manage highway driving (I learned to dislike those pesky trucks/lorries). :)

I am sure my dad was nervous but he tried not to show it. I thought I saw those imaginary brakes being used constantly. :D

just me said...

I have a long wait before I get to be "chauffeur- driven"...

Kak Teh said...

Judy, when my mother bought me my first bicycle, she waited every afternoon for me to come back...there was a sense of regret that she bought me the bicycle - the way I am feeling now.

zabs, its been more than a month =-the enthusiasm to drive us around is still strong. It is only me who keep discouraging her because I hate the thought of her driving home alone after sending us to some place.

Kak Teh said...

count, thanks for the visit - we are now counting the cost of having a car. So far - she has been paying fines of sorts and we must learn to bring down the cost - in fact she has to learn.

demonsinme, when she drives, i want to go down and clear the streets! Mt eyes are glued to the road and I am so tensed!

arena, kak teh masih tension habis. I dont think i can relax but I pray one day, I am able to take a nap when she is driving me around. That day will spell my confidence in her.

Kak Teh said...

hanafionline, terima kasih kerana mengunjungi blog kak teh dan kak teh juga telah mengunjungi blog hanafi.

HT - i thought dads are better than mums but my nona's dad - the usually calm and control macho one - flipped and couldnt sit beside the daughter who is driving.

Just me, when the time comes, you will remember this blog entry..hehe. Remember the first toy car, the child bike that we buy them...and we laugh and smile as they zoom in and out of the front room? Hmmm - this is totally a different scenario.

CAO- Chef Azura othman said...

I remember my first car, my mum got me a barbie car " it was a suzuki.and on my first assignment which was to get some doughnuts, a garbage truck came sideway and scratch my whole left side of the car!!

by the way , nachos and cheesecake..all at once ?

Kak Teh said...

azazura, oh no! on your first assignment too! Luckily - nothing happened to the doughnuts! hah - bad joke - thank God you are ok to write about it.

Nachos and cheesecake? yes, and not any ordinary cheesecake but New york cheesecake pulak tu...but I have not had the urge to do it again.

ummisara said...

nona dah boleh bawak kreta
kak teh & AG jadik tuan besar
dok seat belakang, rasa selesa
sambil bersembang...boleh baca suratkhabar

ummisara said...

dah bertahun-tahun lamanya meninggalkan UK.

Sejak bila ada congestion fee nih kak teh?

Ketinggalan zaman sungguh edel sekarang nih,,,