Risky Driving

Columns | Maruska Strah | February 2009

Dear Diary,

More and more, I realize I am ashamed of the fact that I am twenty years old and have no driver’s license. I have all kinds of excuses, from living in the center of Ljubljana, to having a great system of public transportation here in Vienna.

Honestly, I just think that I would be a terrible driver; I need to sing and think about millions of things when I am in the car. How could I ever be concentrated solely on my driving? My dad actually promised to buy me an army tank, so he wouldn’t have to worry constantly about my being behind the wheels.

So, I get my parents or friends to drive me around and I ride like a princess. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I love riding in the cars. See, I call a taxi even when I am not really in a hurry, just to enjoy the morning ride in the streets of Vienna – trying not to think about the money I spent for nothing.

And so it happened today. My friend and I were late for a conference that was taking place on the complete other side of town.

Hence, I called a cab. We got in and gave the driver the address. I dozed off, half sleeping, half waking, relaxed and enjoying the ride… when I noticed something strange. The driver was watching television! While he was driving! And clearly more concentrated on that than he was on the road.

Now, I feared for my life! How can you be a careful driver and be watching television? I looked at my friend; she seemed as confused as I was.

But the driver? He just looked at me and laughed, telling me about something that had just happened in the movie.

Is this really normal? Then again, once I got a taxi driver who had made me look at his wedding pictures from ten years earlier...

Well, obviously I survived my ride to the conference. However, this event got me thinking: if people can drive and watch television at the same time, does this mean that I could actually be able to get my driver’s license? Nah, that’s too optimistic.

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