Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Wife is a Driving Mutant

My wife has no problem driving here.

Just as we were getting the keys to our house, we rented a small car (Toyota Corolla Hatchback) for a very reasonable price from Budget ( so that we could easily pick up items that we hadn't yet realized that we'd forgotten to get. This proved wise, as things like toilet brushes aren't really at the top of the move-in list.

We're in Ngaio now (pictures to follow) and it's not as easy to get around. Ngaio is a bowl of hills with the shops, the school and the train station on the valley floor. There are no straight streets in Ngaio. There are no perpendicular or parallel streets in Ngaio. Getting around quickly and easily requires mountaineering gear or a car.

So we picked up the car and Joanne took the helm and she just... drives.

She's always been, as she calls it, "left-right indifferent." I've used the phrase "left-right impaired" but she doesn't like the negative connotation there. When I ask her if I should turn left or right, she'll just say "go that way" and point. When we got off the plane at Auckland Airport and went through customs, the customs agents gave us directions to the next gate saying "it's to the left, and then to the left again." With Joanne in the lead, she took off into the terminal and very decidedly made a sharp right. "Is this the way? This doesn't look right..."

I'm wondering if her "left-right indifference" is somehow serving her here--as if it were some sort of mutant evolutionary condition with an unexpected upside. Sort of how being double-recessive for the sickle-cell anemia gene makes you highly resistant to malaria. She seems to have absolutely no problem driving around, maintaining her speed, obeying traffic laws and keeping her sense of direction. She's already got Ngaio pretty well wired-up and can get around extremely well.

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