Along with the standard New Years resolutions of drinking less, eating better and trying to avoid any more bad decisions that might result in me getting hit by a cop or getting chased by a very angry, very pregnant, sheep (I know I’ve said it before, but I really do promise I’ll tell you all the story of that sorry incident soon) I decided that, this year, I would get my ability to drive back on track.
For those of you who don’t know; Brighton is a perpetual one-way system – and a confusing one at that. So, after a few touch and go moments where I may or may not have found myself unintentionally ten miles from home and sobbing into my steering wheel down an unknown side street, I made the educated decision to ditch the driving for the two years I was there. Of course, as soon as I returned to Liverpool I jumped into my little Astra expecting to pick up where I left off.
What I didn’t expect was for those first couple of trips to turn me into a jibbering wreck and remind me of those traumatic learning-to-drive days all those years ago. So, between having to fight my natural urge to drive everywhere at 50 mph, (which, coincidentally isn’t an ideal speed for a dual carriageway or for near a school) and having to leave the house 20 minutes early every time I drive somewhere, knowing full well I’ll have to circle the block a couple of times waiting for any pavement on-lookers to fuck off, before I can start tackling the laborious and horrific task of parallel parking… here are just a few of the problems I encounter while driving.
Driving Other People’s Cars
My car may be a little tank, (that mists up dangerously every time someone dares to breath inside it on a cold day and only has one wing mirror) but it’s what I’m used to – so climbing behind a wheel of a different car is as terrifying as trying to drive a plane. I should have realised how long it takes me to get used to a new car when The Boyfriend’s Dad asked me to move his and I accidentally stalled into a BMW and nearly knocked the registration plate clean off - but after finding some ridiculously cheap car hire in Spain last time I was there, I decided I would be fine. The mistake I may was to opt for an automatic rather than a manual model – I can tell you right now, starting your holiday sobbing at a petrol station after slamming the breaks on a Spanish motorway thinking it was the clutch and only narrowly avoiding being hit by a Coca Cola truck, was not an ideal situation. I swear, I was sweating up so much one of my fake eyelashes actually fell off into my lap.
Oh god Cyclists, I guarantee that one of these idiots will be the reason I end up in prison before I’m 26 for accidentally giving one a lift home on my bonnet. If I’m unlucky enough to be on a bike when a 3000lb vehicle is looming behind me, I get as far away as possible and stop – what I do not do is continue to wobble ahead, filling the driver with fear like most of these maniacs do. If I drive past a cyclist without any bloodshed, in my book, the day has been a success.
Nestled deep in the heart of suburbia, these roads lure us into a false sense of security. With virtually no traffic, expensive cars lining both sides of the road and group of kids playing football these seem like a scene out of family heaven. Until, of course, you have to drive down one, when it quickly changes from a picturesque haven into one of those crazed car-chase games where you get 10 points for knocking over the ‘bad guys’ and 30 points for avoiding the baby.
I could go on and on, but to honest I’d suddenly very aware I may be setting myself up to get my license revoked, so I think I’ll leave it there. But, please, tell me I’m not the only one who wonders on a daily basis how they ever passed their test in the first place..?