Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Driving Practice

I agree with BODO on all counts, both on the main thrust of his post and on the idea that we 'blisterers need to post more. Over the past couple days, I've been a bit conflicted over whether or not I should be the one to break this hiatus of ours, which became absolutely pointless once we hit vacation, but for some reason I didn't. Call it sloth or lack of creativity or whatever, but I couldn't find the energy. Luckily, BODO was able to find within himself that which I had not, and, as I've found to be the case quite often in the past, one person's posting sparks the creativity of the rest (that's right, Bootsie, you're next). Therefore now, after close to month of that ridiculous thing I call "The Bird of Darkness" gliding on its ashen feathers at the top of this page, we have, like the fists of the little dragon, a Double Post! (at least) coming faster than you could bat your eyelashes at me.

But anyway, that's not all I'm posting to talk about. As BODO and probably no one else already know, I went on a driving practice yesterday, and guess what? I went again today. (There's that old one-two again--it's like a thematic element or something.) This time it was down by Fort River, and I drove around and around in some kind of vague elliptical shape while wondering whether a few dedicated teachers having a conference up in a classroom were watching and all silently chortling while keeping up the ruse of being seriously involved in whatever type of meeting they would have over break. This is the main reason I don't like going on driving practices. The actual driving is pretty fun. But I always feel like I'm onstage for some kind of performance and I'm doing terribly. I remember the driver of some passing car smiling condescendingly at me in passing, probably thinking inwardly, "Look at that bumbling buffoon who can't even work the gas properly!" It sounds odd, but I feel much more socially nervous and self-conscious during driving practices than I do singing or playing music in front of a crowd.

I don't often wish this, but this is an area in which I wish life were more like a video game. (OK, OK, I admit it--I wish that pretty often in other situations, too.) I wish you could just load up "Practice Land" and be in some kind of alternate dimension while you practiced and nothing existed but the course you set out for yourself to practice on. Or maybe it could be randomly generated, and there could be Digi-Cars or something that you could crash with, but they wouldn't hurt you beyond a few minor bruises and a crushed ego. Maybe someday in the future, probably even after people are living in floating cities in the atmosphære of Jupiter that have long since revolted against the repressive Earth Government, humans will come up with an effective driving simulation.

Of course, I can't keep myself so occupied with such phantasies when I'm learning a skill that really could mean life or death, so I apply to the learning process of driving the skills I have learnt and polished so well over years of instruction in mathematics and the sciences (particularly the family and consumer ones): Do what you're told, don't question tradition, and practice with as little innovation as possible. In other words, get good without getting creative. I feel like it's a message that runs directly counter to what we're often taught as children in elementary school, but I feel like it's the only real way to learn something, at least something with a standard, accepted method. So, to make today's Double Post! tie in with the established themes, not everything is about "doing what you want." Look at all the people that are great at things (anything) and are really unique and expressive: either they have a really special talent or they learnt all the rules and finally, only after long, long, practice, supergressed traditional bounds. It is safe to say that not many people belong to the first category, and I certainly don't when it comes to driving. Questioning tradition isn't wrong, but saying it's wrong without really understanding it is a cause for a great loss of credibility, at least in my eyes. Nunc sumus tantum ob eos qui ante erant.

Lil Mugi

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