As some of you may be aware, I embarked on driving lessons in autumn of last year. This is one right of passage towards becoming a proper grown up I have been studiously avoiding for years now, after all a car is not needed in London. However, as my weekends take me more and more often out of London and as my Mother has a phobia of driving on motorways and isn’t getting any younger, it seemed like a sensible thing to do. So in September I took the plunge and contacted a local lady driving instructor.
It will come as no surprise to you to hear that in most aspects of my life I don’t hesitate when it comes to assuming the driving seat. However, when it came to taking the driving seat in a literal sense I was quite the quivering wreak of nerves. I have never possessed a boyish enthusiasm for levers and buttons and making things go (I prefer to leave that sort of thing to the chauffeur). Equally, I felt rather overwhelmed by the potential damage that an automobile could do. On my first lesson, I was extremely thankful for my instructor’s calming manner, not to mention duel control.
For a nervous driver embarking on lessons in a central London borough is particularly foolhardy. Even the quietest back streets are rife with white vans being driven by individuals clearly under the influence of an exciting cocktail of stimulants. Not to mention people meandering into the road on their mobile phones without the slightest regard for on coming L-plates.
When you venture onto the busier roads, life becomes even more exciting. Particularly as your learner status marks you out as fair game for superfluous hooting and dangerous over taking in the 20 mile an hour zone (when, I hasten to add, I am already reaching the heady heights of 20mph, in between the speed bumps that is).
I do not let such shoddy and unchivalrous behaviour get me down. I remain calm in the knowledge that karma will repay the impatient shites, particularly when their aggressive behaviour towards one of the innocent lambs of the road results in a multiple stalling incident at the traffic lights.
However, despite my general state of dread, Kathleen, my lovely driving instructor, insists I am good driver. And that though I may tackle the wild roads of Hackney in a state of white knuckled terror, breathing rarely and praying that the number 76 bus won’t actually plough into me, I’m doing all the driverly things I need to do and not losing it (as a rule). We are apparently leaving the 20 mile zone next lesson to venture into the as yet unexplored territory of third gear, so I must be doing something right!
I am sure you will all want regular updates on my driving progress so I won’t disappoint.