Finally, just fourteen years after my first attempt at driving a car, I am being let loose on the roads of Britain. Yes, I have passed my driving test, and I can only hope that a) driving is not as difficult as it first appears, b) other people are patient and c) I have a guardian angel, and they are paying close attention.
I literally cannot believe I am allowed to drive. I am surely a serious threat to the health and safety of the nation. I have no idea how all the cars even fit on the roads these days and spent most of my driving test telling the examiner all the things I was scared of. These things include buses, lorries, other cars, roads with ditches at the side and all roads with a speed limit of more than thirty. The whole thing feels like an enormous fluke, to the extent that I keep thinking Jeremy Beadle is going to jump out of a bush waving his arms manically and shouting that it’s all a great big hoax, and no, you will never be a driver O ye of little spatial awareness.
Except that Jeremy Beadle is dead, and I have actually passed my driving test. And not only that, but I now have a car. An actual, real life car! On the driveway! I even parked it there myself.* I have to keep looking out of the window and checking it’s still there and not just a figment of my imagination. These days I’m even speaking in sentences which involve the word “car,” such as “Piglet was in a bad mood and kicked the car this morning,”** or “I tried to take the car to work this morning but I put the key in the ignition and it wouldn’t switch on.”***
Having a car is going to be brilliant, once I work out how to switch it on. Piglet and I can go on road trips. We will be like Thelma and Louise, sat in our Ford Fiesta in our headscarves and sunglasses, windows wound down, out on the open road with the wind in our hair. Me in the front and Piglet in his car seat (buying it tomorrow, fingers crossed! All I need to do is successfully drive to the shops. My brother has been commandeered to accompany me for moral support and terrified screaming as we approach roundabouts), born to be wild and getting our kicks on Route 66. Or the A66. Or the 66 bus route. It’s going to be great!
I have even booked a camping trip in August, which may involve driving on motorways. Hopefully we won’t end up having an unfortunate incident in a service station where Piglet has to defend my honour with an improvised weapon (probably a piece of tree, knowing him) and we then end up as fugitives, heading for the Channel tunnel and a new life in the EU, with which by then we will probably not have an extradition treaty, before driving off the white cliffs of Dover rather than surrender to the Feds.
OK, maybe we’ll just be Thelma and Louise at the beginning when they’re wearing the fabulous headscarves, before it all goes wrong, because PATRIARCHY, and the world just can’t handle two badass females sitting in a car without a man. Although on second thoughts, even the headscarves could be problematic. Didn’t Isadora Duncan die when her scarf got caught in the wheels of her car in some horrible freak accident? Then there was that time Brian Harvey ran himself over. There really is just too much that can go wrong with this whole driving thing. Oh good lord why did I ever even learn to drive? Come back buses of Bristol, all is forgiven!
Anyway, let’s try and switch it on first. Baby steps.
*Only one small bump on the wing mirror.
**That went down well.
***Still not sure how cars are supposed to work.
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