Learning to drive has been a millstone around my neck for about, ooh, a year or so. In June, I failed my test on my first try. It was all I hoped for. Eventually I passed in October.
We own a car and have done so for some years. Like many men, I am inordinately fascinated with automobiles – so much so that it has taken a good six or seven years of car ownership for me to go and get driving lessons. As you might imagine, this hasn’t bothered my wife at all. She can often be found listing all the things she uses the car for: shopping, children; ferrying feckless husbands around; traveling to work. I could go on, as I have been furnished with quite the list. But all golden ages must end, and in an attempt to make sure that the marital one doesn’t (and let’s face it: who wants to spend their Saturday afternoons asleep under a newspaper when they could be navigating hill starts in the driving rain while a line of cars enthusiastically beep their support? Heaven) I have embarked upon a journey from someone who can’t drive at all but thinks he’d probably be great, to someone who can’t drive very well but may, horrifyingly, eventually get a licence.
Certainly, there have been many upsides to not being able to drive, and not just the ability to read a book on the motorway. I like to congratulate myself for allowing my children an alternate perspective on gender roles. Whether or not they agree is a matter for the courts. My view has always been that driving is an occupation that requires concentration, and as I have allotted all my given share to brewing coffee, drinking it and wondering where I’ll get some more, I have taken a fairly dim view of the prospect of cutting into that time simply in order to do something that is effectively another way for people to ask me to do things for them. When you have a car and can drive it, suddenly people can ask you things like: ‘could you pick this up for me?’, ‘can we go to the zoo’, ‘you be the designated driver’, not to mention ‘drive me to Achill.’ I fail to see how this works out for me personally. I think my skill set is more suited to being the asker than the askee (if I could just murder the English language for a moment).
But because I’m not entirely insane, I haven’t yet raised this argument with my wife, preferring a form of passive (some say inactive) action that includes, but is not limited to: not getting around to getting ‘L’ plates and finding the renewal of ones Provisional an almost Herculean task. Now, you may ask: why has this man spent several hundred words talking about all this? Surely it would be better to face life head on, from the driving seat, etc, etc. Well, given that if you’d wanted to read a stirring tale of how one man said ‘yes’ to adversity and believed in himself and all the rest, you’d already be in your car, driving to the bookshop to pick up my latest bestseller: ‘Driving To Success: How The Internal Combustion Engine Can Save Your Marriage’ – apart from that, it has occupied a good half hour when I haven’t wondered exactly where in the fearsomely high stack of unfiled bills and half-read books is my Provisional licence renewal form. And now it’s time for coffee again. Join me next month as I discuss the ins and outs of divorce courts and why my children need a father figure.
Take out the trash, Lewis Miller
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