Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Left brain, right brain, no brain.

The forces were definitely against me yesterday. Firstly, when I arrived in Geneva yesterday morning, the rental car company didn’t have my reservation. This led to a good 45 minutes worth of holding up the mammoth queue of people behind me.

Once the reservations were sorted, I then got into the little Renault Clio (on the left-hand driver’s side of course) and had a full-on major mental meltdown. Keep in mind that this is only my second time driving on the right-hand side – I’ve managed to avoid it since I got to France a year ago.

Anyway, for some reason, I just couldn’t remember what to do with my feet! Was I supposed to hit the accelerator, clutch and brake pedals all with the 1 foot? Something seemed so wrong with that!

Once I worked out where my feet went, I tried to put the Clio into reverse. But nooooo, it wouldn’t go into reverse! 5 minutes later and one very frazzled call to Pépé, I held this button-thing down and put the damn car into reverse. How the heck was I supposed to know that you had to hold this-button thing? My super ancient 1986 Toyota Corolla back in Melbourne didn’t have any button-things to hold to put it into reverse.

To cut a long story short, after 2 unintended (but very pleasant) drives past the Geneva International Airport entrance (I missed the exit twice!), I managed to make safely it out of the airport compounds and to work (spending at least half of the way in 2nd gear!).

After over 10 years of driving on the left-hand side, I can say that making the switch to right-hand driving is totally doing my head in. I keep turning the wipers on to indicate to my fellow automobile travellers that I want to turn. Needless to say, the right and left indicators do nothing to clear the windscreen.

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