Thursday, 29 December 2011

Drive time!

I’m learning to drive. If you live in the Oxford area this should be enough to convince you that the New Year is as good a time as any for becoming a hermit. If you would still like to go about your business then you can take comfort in the fact that I am mostly driving in first gear at no more than ten miles an hour so the damage is likely to be minimal if you do come across me.

Taking to the roads is a big thing for me as I had an accident while learning to drive when I was 17 and haven’t driven since. Aside from being a total wuss I have reasoned with myself that till now I’ve always lived in cities so I have never really needed to drive that badly. And it’s greener. And wouldn’t it be cooler to cycle around anyway? The answer to the last question is no, unless by cooler you mean colder. That it is.  I have always said that if it ever came to the point where I was missing opportunities by not driving then I would man up and learn. Well, that time has come and after a no-nonsense email from a friend I decided to go for it and booked my lessons, the first of which I had today.
I’ve actually had nightmares about being behind the wheel and I had no idea how I would respond to being back in the driving seat. After a few instructions to ‘breath, for God’s sake woman’ I was on the road and, gulp, driving. At one point as I went up the main road braving the move up to third gear (go me!) I suddenly realised what I was doing and yelled ‘I’m driving!’ to which the instructor nervously responded ‘Err, yes. You are.’ I still have a long way to go till I’m test ready and more importantly ready to face the roads confident and solo but it was amazing to be doing something I had feared for so long and realising that it’s just not so bad after all.
I had developed a bit of a fear of public speaking a few years back (to the point where my knees actually knocked together!) that I well and truly bashed last year and now I can’t remember what it was like to be afraid of speaking in front of people. I feel so natural speaking and most importantly happy to be myself in front of an audience. So I hope driving goes the same way. Now that I’m conquering that Everest I’m looking around for other things that I’ve been avoiding and it’s really exciting to see that there isn’t really anything. For that reason I’m really excited about 2012. I know that by the end of it I’ll be able to confidently say ‘Well, I gave that my all.’ And as my very clever Dad used to say before an exam ‘You can’t do any more than your best.’ Amen to that!


  1. Yay!

    I had an awesome driving instructor, and I gave him a few frights.

    1. When I mounted a pavement to avoid squashing a foolhardy squirrel running in front of the car...

    2. When I pulled out on a roundabout having failed to see the double decker bus because I was sleepy, to which he promptly banned me from driving before 10 a.m.

    You'll be doing road trips before you know it! :)

  2. You go, girl! Conquering a long-held fear isn't easy and I wish you every success, especially in Oxford, which is bad enough on foot (our son lives there).

  3. Thanks Perpetua. It is a bit of a scary place to learn but I'll encounter a lot of 'avoiding cyclists' and 'strange one way systems' so I'll be better for it in the end I'm sure!