I go away for four weeks and jump straight back into the car a pro, superb control, it’s like I’ve never been away. The week after? I stall about twenty times, at junctions, at traffic lights, sitting still by the kerb… I jump from good to bad to worse to good again at random and I’m pulling my hair out. But I thought you guys could at least get a laugh out of it. So here’s why these lessons are driving me out of my mind as literally as is possible:
1. Buckle up buster
The moment you remember to adjust your seat, check your mirrors, indicate, biting point, blind spot, handbrake, steer and then your car loses its fricking mind at you because – crucially – you forgot the bloody seat-belt.
The bane of my life. You think you’ve mastered the clutch? Wrong. It’s like the thing changes its mind over night just to piss me off and – yep, sorry, it’s my fifteenth lesson but I just stalled pulling away from the kerb, moving on a downwards slope (that’s almost impressive because it’s so difficult to achieve). Awkward.
And yep, it’s the twentieth lesson, and I’ve just stalled at the junction by my house, the same junction I turn down every week.
And yes, I have just stalled randomly on a straight road for no apparent reason.
Then there’s always that niggling feeling that, around every corner, there’s an army of cats, small children or elderly people waiting to run (or slowly shuffle) straight into the road in front. All started by one ill-chosen phrase by instructor number 1: imagine that, every time you look down, you kill a small child… I want my money back…
Sometimes I just get this urge to pull the wheel round and round until it locks… And then steer right into the pavement. Oops.
Other times I just wanna be as straight as an arrow, ya know? Be chilled, relax, not exert myself with too much moving around. These are the times I clip corners, miss turnings, hit lampposts…
One of my biggest enemies? The blasted narrow back-roads with cars parked on both sides. Do I wait for this Hyundai to drive through before me, do I push on? I seem to make the wrong decision every time. Sometimes I feel quite sorry for my instructor…
It’s very easy to get to 30mph. It’s less easy to keep things there. 25 oh god that Toyota’s bumper is getting closer to mine… 33 oh crap I’ve failed my test. Stay the f*** still dial, you’ll get me into trouble.
I’ve passed my theory, I know the drill. I know my slippery surfaces from my road converges ahead. So why do I refuse to bother looking at them and drive 40 in a 30 zone?!
11. Forgetful idiocy
I’m a daydreamer. My mind wonders whenever it wants. So when my instructor tells me to take a left, sometimes I drive straight on. When I’m reversing, I’ll forget which way to turn the wheel. I’ll forget which gear I’m in, what my name is, where I’m going… you get the gist.
It’s all hard enough as it is. Not being able to see very well? That just doesn’t help things does it? In a world where I was in charge, floodlighting would be a big deal.
13. Sweaty seat syndrome
When you’re a bit nervous and it’s a hot day, we’ve all sweated into the leather. Which means in some way, we’re all connected to each other. Via our fluids. Gross.
The scrabble for the window wipers can be the most awkward and stressful.ordeal of the lesson. Press it. No up, the other one! While your car goes Transformer on you and you don’t know how to reset back to normality.
Seriously. I really hate stalling. It just has to stop.
Photo credit feature image: Ed Gregory