Universal Truths

Everything is different here.

They drive on the wrong side of the road.

The clutch is where it should be, but I’m sitting in the right hand side of the car, driving on the left hand side of the yellow line, traffic whizzing by.

The gear shift is on my left.

So is she.

The engine revs.

Two hearts race.

Gears on the verge of shifting.


Wedging my thigh up against the steering wheel,

making things harder than they need to be,

letting go of the wheel,

reaching across my body,

right hand on the shifter,

clutch depressed,

pulling awkwardly into fourth,

release the clutch,

right hand back to wheel,

steady now,

all so that my other hand,

never leaves hers.


9 responses to “Universal Truths”

  1. :) – Coming from Britain I have the opposite problem. Do you find your right hand is bruised because you keep reaching for the gear stick and instead slam your fist into the door panel? I do it all the time, except it’s my left hand.

  2. Love the ending!

  3. I swear, I’ve done impossible things whilst handling a stickshift. Glad to see one of them appreciated and articulated so beautifully! Well done, sah

  4. Lovely story, Hugh. I love to see a hero overcoming adversity :). I have refused offers to drive while in the UK, and possibly saved lives thereby.

  5. Wonderful ending.

  6. Beautiful as always Hugh!

  7. I used to own a car that I imported from Japan. It was standard transmission, so I had to learn to shift with my left hand. Since I was young when I learned, I now am able to use both hands proficiently, though not ambidextrously. By the way, love the ending. Good job, as usual. Also, I know that you are on sea, but we miss you. Thanks for the latest updates on the website. Happy sailing.

  8. I want to know more about her. How long were you on land? Where is she from?

  9. Hehe those anxieties on the ‘wrong’ side of the road are gut wrenching at first aren’t they ? This reminded me of my daughter when she was a toddler, we had a two seater car at one point and she would reach across and grab my hand everywhere we went. Maybe my driving was awful!

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