But Only In My Own Mind
I took my newest right hand drive Pajero Super Exceed through drive-thru yesterday. Did all the steps correctly: shut down the diesel engine at the speaker (so I could hear it), undid my seatbelt, got close to the window. All went fine. But It reminded me of the time it didn’t.
Just because you’ve done something for a long time, that doesn’t mean you’re good at it.
There was a drive-thru I used to frequent every Friday. The friendly morning staff called me the “Right-Hand-Drive-Guy” and always joked that I should come through backwards. I always laughed it off, until one day I thought I’d surprise them: I backed up to the speaker and proudly exclaimed: “I’m doing it! I’m coming through backwards!” The hesitant reply probably should have clued me in… “Ummm. Can I take your order please?”
I rattled off my breakfast choices, then reversed around the drive-through lane, all the while feeling the heat of the stare from the lady in the vehicle right behind me who was glaring through my windshield. When I stopped at the window, mere inches away from caffeination and drive through immortality, the (unfamiliar) server on the other side gave me a confused look, handed me my items, and quickly slid the window shut. It was only then that I realized it was Wednesday. My Friday regular fun bunch weren’t working that morning.
But this faux pas pales in comparison with my airport fiasco last February.
We had taken my wife’s Pajero (her first RHD) to the airport to pick up her sister from vacation. On the way into the short term parking I attempted to school her in the virtues of getting close to the lane marker so she could hit the gate button from the RHS without getting out, if she ever found herself going to the airport solo. She rolled her eyes and told me I “over analyzed things.” Who? Me? Hmmph.
We had planned to meet my in-laws inside, corral their luggage, and then have supper in the airport before driving them home. It was subzero, so after supper I volunteered to walk out to our parking spot and bring the truck around.
Being a man of action, and with the weather in the negative temperatures, I decided to practice what I had been previously preaching to my wife. I expertly approached the ticket validation machine before the exit, got extra close, and attempted to validate my parking stub, without getting out. As I had patiently explained to my wife, who was a first time RHD owner, it was “simply a matter of putting the transmission in park, unbuckling your seatbelt, and leaning over after you open the left-hand window. You’ll get used to it.” So I did just this. Unfortunately, the cold must have been wrecking havoc with the card reader.
I couldn’t seem to get it up (the gate).
Finally, after several failed credit card swipes, and with a crowd building up behind me, the gate grudgingly yielded. I scrambled back over the seat and tried to exit before the gate came back down, but then two things happened simultaneously: my foot felt numb so I couldn’t find the brake pedal, and the truck suddenly stalled. I began to panic. The gate was surely about to close again, leaving me trapped at the apex of a very long, impatient line. I frantically groped for the ignition to try to restart.
That’s When I Discovered the Source of My Problems.
In a “stroke” of bad luck (turns out my foot wasn’t actually numb), I had somehow put my foot through my wife’s (pink) lanyard in my haste to return to the driver’s seat. My subsequent front seat calisthenics had switched the ignition off, and suspended my foot 3 inches off the floorboard. I hastily disentangled myself, restarted the truck, quickly glanced around to make sure no-one had witnessed my “expertise,” and raced under the gate just as it was descending again.
Later, when my wife requested her keys, she asked if I’d had had any trouble reaching the parking meter pole? I evasively shook my head then fingered the straightened key chain in my pocket, hoping this particular legend would remain a mystery.