Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Fear of Driving

It’s a nice example of one of those modern faux-paradoxes – which turn out to be a yin/yang balance thing, after all – that our ailment-of-the times, “road rage” has been hogging the four-wheeled epidemiological limelight. Also a widespread disease, apparently, is “fear of driving”.

Until this morning, I had thought that this condition (i) had no particular name, which was largely because (ii) I thought that my mum was the world’s only afflicted person. My mum, who lives in a country town, refuses to drive to/in Melbourne, and also refuses to parallel park anywhere, anytime. I have to admit that I had never thought of her condition as being particularly debilitating; public transport can have its reliability quirks, but it also provides my garrulous mum with the perfect opportunity to start-up a conversation with an unsuspecting stranger. As for ending-up parking blocks away, due to all the closer spots having less than five metres of clearance (either side), I’m sure there’s some silver lining there, too.

I can reassure any concerned readers out there – who don’t know me, and so haven’t been in a car with me – that my mum’s condition is definitely not genetically transmitted (that is, unless, at 39 I’m an undiagnosed latent carrier). IMO, road rage is merely the inevitable consequence of giving licenses willy-nilly to idiots who (i) don’t regard it as their highest public duty to drive at the maximum legal speed at all times, and (ii) don’t share my sincere hope of being eulogised mainly for my prowess as the gun who could reverse-park into a spot with 12 inches of clearance either side (true story).

One place I would be nervous behind the wheel at, though, is the Frankston Shopping Centre car park. From the photo (same URL), it looks like a wall-to-wall home for souped-up and spoilered ex-Mad Max props. And given that Frankston is also where common road rage seems to easily turn into a fight-to-the-death melee, perhaps my mum and the pre-“cure” Tracy Ash don’t have a wonky wheel in their shopping trolley, after all.

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