It is currently 2pm on Saturday afternoon and I have just returned home from my 26th hour of driving lessons. My test is in a month, I’m fairly certain I’ll fail. Can anyone explain to me what the point is of manual cars now that we have automatics? I stupidly let my friends talk me into learning to drive in a manual ‘just incase I needed to drive a car in an emergency and only a manual was available.’ At the time they told me this I was sold immediately on the argument, ‘oh yeah good point, what if the planet’s tectonic plates separate unearthing a gaping chasm into the centre of the earth and I need to outrun it in an old Metro that happens to be unlocked and unattended outside my house’. God forbid that I get pulled over fleeing from the event horizon of an ever expanding death pit and have to show the officer I’m only legally allowed to drive an automatic.
I look around at the people I know who can drive and there’s a deep seated shame that at 26 I am not only still learning, but learning and failing. I consider myself rather intelligent; not a genius (as is evidenced by the grammar in this blog) but relatively smart. I know some complete fuckwits who learnt to drive when they were 18, a lot of whom were too poor and ugly to have cheated. At the time I didn’t have much money and as I grew up and moved around I didn’t feel any real need or desire to sink half of my payslip into maintaining a car instead of just walking anywhere I needed to go.
Obviously the need for a car differs from country to country, somewhere like Australia or America where popping to the shops can be a 100 mile drive justifies owning something more than a peddle bike, but here in the UK if you live in the city owning a car can be more of a burden than a liberator (coming from a guy who has never owned a car; pinch of salt required). I walk to work and I get a bus to the shops, it’s about all the exercise I manage on an average week, why buy a car and become both poorer and fatter?
Well regardless of my own distaste for driving a pregnant wife was the decider in the argument of ‘but do we need it though?’ The answer, you’ll be surprised to hear, is apparently yes. I do understand why, if our little girl needs to go to the hospital then I’m not going to want to be waiting around for a bus, but there’s Uber now… Sometimes, though if they keep increasing their ‘we’re busy’ surcharge soon it’s going to become cheaper to buy a car just for the one trip. Google just need to hurry up with their whole world domination spiel and get their self driving death cars on the market already.
What I don’t understand personally, is how 90% of the people on the road managed to pass their test at all. On my lesson today an old woman was driving directly at me down the wrong side of the road, obviously my first instinct was ‘shit what am I doing wrong?’ After all I’m the learner, but no, my instructor leant over and started beeping the horn. Nothing, she just kept driving at us and staring straight ahead, in the end I, the learner, had to swerve onto the wrong side of the road to avoid a collision. That was one of about five completely confusing scenarios I found myself in today in one lesson. It was as if she had been possessed by a demonic entity unfazed by the potential damage she could cause to her new skin suit.