driving me zen

With an A stuck on your back window & at times driving a car with a 92 license plates*, it's going to be hell on the road for new drivers, like me - for 3 years. The A, meaning apprentis or jeune conducteur (new driver), naturally pisses people on the road - as if driving is already not stressful enough. *the car's town of residence can be identified by the plate numbers in France & 92 is an outskirt of Paris, Levallois Perret - Paris & Marseille has their own history

My A has only been stuck on my car's butt for about 10 months now & I have thought of a great bumper sticker for my fellow A drivers: I only have 6 points to spare so fuck off. Driving licenses in France work by point system. Everytime you are caught with a road infraction, there is a corresponding number of points that is taken away (12 points for old drivers). So you can imagine how this sytem makes A drivers seem so uptight - we follow the road rules by the book - for 3 years, or we can lose our license with just a bat of an eye. Not all A drivers are young & new drivers but it is what it is.

It is now a known fact that driving is one of the major causes of stress & somehow your character is truly tested when you come across different drivers:

The Bully. These are the drivers that almost kisses your rear bumper while you are overtaking at the maximum speed limit. If the speed limit is 130 km/h, the bullies are driving at a minimum of 150 km/h before they came behind you so they bully you to step on it & that you go back to the lane you belong. The bullies are usually young or teenagers & at times with an A.

The Car Racers. These are the drivers that normally run below the maximum speed limit & when you try to overtake them, they accelerate to not allow you to, so you have to go over the speed limit to do so. The car racers can be anybody but theya re normally the seniors.

The Sunday Drivers. These drivers always drive at 20-30 km/h below the speed limit & without a care in the world. Inside towns where the speed limit is 50 km/h, they always cause road rage from the bullies. The sunday drivers are normally seniors - with a hat & pipe for men & kick ass (and scary) women.
Could also be lovers on a stroll.

The Road Owners. Or at least these drivers think they do. They believe that the roads are made especially for them. No care in the world but you make the slightest remark they get psychotic on you & on everybody else thereafter. There is no use reasoning with the road owners. They could be anybody who assume that their affair on the road is more important than anybody else. They normally use the reserved parking for the handicap.

These kinds of drivers can contribute to road stress. In addition, there are the morning & after work rush, fewer lanes due to road constructions, random traffic jams, potholes, crazy drivers - and crazy drivers especially. And I thought I had enough practice driving in Manila. But you cannot be too defensive enough nor too careful enough on the road because other drivers are not. Then the big difference is that in Manila, cars go at a snail speed most of the time due to traffic. Here, since traffic is not as bad as back home, they get crazy at high speed. Now, that's scary.

The transit from one place to another in your car is so automatic that calmness cannot always be contained by the stressors of driving. We're so used to it that it has become a part of our daily lives & you wonder if it is normal. And that A at the back of my car is like a knife on my back.


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. haha makis, we are the same, mama mia. Usually who bullies me when I drive? lolo michel. He said I am toooo slow when a red light turned to green. And he hated stop lights, I dont. He would go around mountains and hills just to avoid stop lights.
    I almost get my infraction because I parked on handicapped parking lot.good enough the police was with a lady and told me to get off the lot immediatelly. Or else, my six points will be reduced by 2 points!
    the agony of driving in france, sometimes to save our neck , its better not to drive if we can...

  2. first time i drive here in toronto, signal-turn left, may nag overtake, harurot, ambilis ng impact dumerecho ako sa estribo. Yung pulis nasa likod ko pala. Ako pa tinikitan ng overspeeding instead of the other driver. Nilaban ko yun sa hearing ah! Hindi umapir the officer, winner ang beauty ko by default (belat!)

  3. Oi, talaga, you park in handicap parking reserve, Francesca?? Taray naman ni lola! Hay naku, the husbands are real bullies when you take them as your passengers. I always leave the driving to mine :)

    Naku, ang taray rin ng beauty ni sis Nao! You never cease to amaze me talaga. aba, kailangan i-laban ang prinsipyo lalo na kung alam natin tama tayo diba!

  4. sigh...when can I have this "A" in my life? pangarap ka na lang ba o magiging katotohanan ba!!! hahaha remember that song of Jamie, Makis ?

  5. Haze, kung pede lang daanin na lang sa kindat yang permis de conduire mo ano? Basta, kaya nga ng Lola mo na hindi gaano mag french, ikaw pa?
    Change ka ng instructor, paturo ka sa super higpit, kung maari yung dating gendarme para liscence ka na!

    Or talaga lang ata hirap mag drive dyan sa marseille, lol!

    hay naku mak, ihing ihi na ako non, sa harap ng auto routiere shop , wala maprkingan, sabi ko two minutes lang, labas na ako, ba kabilis ng pulis, ka buntot ko pala!lol

    buti alam niya ihi lang ako, lol kasi balik agad! kundi, pano na lisensya ko...hirap at dusa ko yun bago ko na pasa!!!

  6. you really classified these drivers well, makis, tawa ako ng tawa dito.

    i was lucky to have the license before that probationary 6 points system. pero till now, di pa naman nababawasan, good driver kuno hehehe. sorry to say this maks, but sometimes i hate these A drivers nga, it's either they're like bullies on the road or sunday drivers... and i have to add the auto-ecoles too, naman, why do they have to be on the road at the same time as the office workers? paki-explain nga? pang asar no haha.. puro pasaway!

  7. Kakatawa ka talaga, Haze! You'll bag your license soon. I have a good feeling about it ;-)

    Mahirap ata talaga parking dyan sa Nice, diba Francesca? Oo no, if you have to go, you have to go! Congrats again for your French permit, kaka-proud talaga diba lalo na tayong mga baluktot pa ang French :)

    I know, Ana, A drivers are really hate magnets! Some are dangerous pa nga eh. I'm so impatient to remove mine & I still have 26 months to go, damn! And I only have to go all through this because I procrastinated - that's a lesson, girls. Hehehe!