Panic

“Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm and without panic; it can be mitigated by reason and evalution”

Vannevar Bush

 

 

“Don’t panic”, he says. I look at him, frowning. I’m halfway through a roundabout and the car is dead, unforgivingly killed by the lousy driver; me. It is not the first time and most likely not the last. While I’m fully aware that I’m in this very stressing position because I’m learning, it’s not easy to keep the panic at bay. At the same time however, I’m frustrated at both him and myself. I prepare a start, I fire up the engine and I get the car to move forward. A quick glance behind me turns my palms sweaty. So… many… cars… I blink and leave the roundabout behind, wondering how many other drivers are currently swearing about newbies and women behind the wheels. It makes me sink lower into the seat and my stomach growls upset from nervousness. I almost miss a pedestrian crossing and a lady gives me a terrified stare as I pass by.

“Don’t panic” he repeats. I want to tell him that I’m far past panic by now. I just want to race to the nearest graveyard and bury myself, never to come back out again. Why is it that every single person in this oblong country has gathered up right here and now? I can swear on my ancestors’ graves that it’s never this crowded otherwise.   I want to point out that I’m a small town girl. In fact, it’s not even a small town, more like a none-existing town. A nowhere town girl. I panic by the thought of walking through a city this size. Even worse when I’m suddenly and abruptly thrown into the steaming traffic with little to no experience behind me. It is my fourth lesson and I’m already trying to fit into the crowd of champions, take place amongst the drivers of the years, be part of those who have been driving since they were kids. I try to breathe calmly and remember what I’ve read in my book. It made it sound so easy. Do this, do that, all good, here’s your license. It’s nothing like that. It’s panic to the left, panic to the right. I’m surprised that the instructor is able to remain so collected. I suppose it would be a bad thing if we both panicked.

 

I just hope that practice makes perfect.

 

Published for the Daily Prompt; Panic

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