obsessive compulsive driving

I am not superstitious...okay, maybe a little bit. Of course I have my own share of tiny obsessive compulsives, but nothing that would disrupt my well being or those of my fellow beings. One such thing which I do regularly is taking my car forward when I take it out for the first time in a day. I have to obsessively put the car in the drive gear and move it a step forward before I can reverse it out of the parking spot. I have been doing it since the day I bought my car.

I think it started with the ritual we Indians usually follow of doing this right the first time. And since it was my first car in my life, I didn't want to piss of any superior powers that might be watching over me. And something which was meant to be for the first time only became a first time everyday thing.

Come to think of it, it might have been my horrible attempt at drive right the next day I got my license. I learned driving in India when I was in college. I learned it in a good old ambassador car with huge stick gears which you had to literally pull and move into the required slot to change the gear. And turning the steering meant using all the force you can gather on your hands plus the added push by swirling your body in the direction of the turning of wheel. And once we managed to get the license, a roommate of mine had a maruti car and he encouraged me to take it out and take it for a spin. The thing he never mentioned nor I thought about was that it was power steering. It was parked in front of our hostel facing our room window. So, here I step into the car and changed the gear to reverse. The smoothness with which the gear shifted was a new experience for me. And like I had done for the last few months in the ambassador, I pressed the accelerator as hard as possible and the car just jerked back. In the panic all I could do was pull the hand brake with my feet still rooted on to the accelerator. Don’t ask me if it is the safest or wisest thing to do, say if it was on a road, when your vehicle speeds up uncontrollably, you have no idea how mind works in panic. And his almost new maruti skidded back and halted at 90 deg. from its initial position with the hood now facing the wall. It still is a mystery how I managed to do that given that there was not much space available there to perform such a maneuver.

I immediately stepped out of the car and handed over the key to my roomie. Surprisingly he didn't appear to me much ruffled, most likely because he, being a new driver himself, might have pulled off such a trick before. Anyway, that day I decided not to drive someone else's vehicle so that I don’t end up in the wrong side if i cause even a slightest scratch on it. And mind you it was my first attempt at driving a car without any supervision and i felt I should have started on the right note - in this case a move forward. Hence, when I got a car of my own car, I wanted to take it forward as a good omen for my future rides. However it had gotten to me like a habit which I cannot get rid of. And the sad truth that I don’t know how to reverse parking is presenting me with opportunity to continue doing it every single day.

A small foot note: For the most part I have stuck to my resolution of not driving someone else’s personal car. I have done it only on 2 occasions in the last 8 years; and need I say I was extra cautious taking it up.