That's right now. I'm trying to learn to drive.
When I was a kid I remember announcing to my mother that I was never going to be "one of those losers who only learns to drive when they're like 27"
There were lots of contributing factors that made learning to drive impossible, but they were all governed by the fact that I had no money.
I won't go into any depth, because who gives a fuck, right? The point is it that I'm 26 now and with my 27'th birthday fewer than two weeks away, I can finally afford to learn to drive and finally live in a household that owns a car. I provide the cats and Ideal Brown provides the car.
The weird thing about learning to drive when you're a powdery relic is this: you have no yard stick by which to measure your progress. How many lessons have you had? How was your lesson last week? How many times did you stall/break on a roundabout/feel compelled to deliberately drive through a massive pothole to jounce your instructor? Do you get shouted at? Do you get congratulated? Does your instructor guide you as much in the art of not damaging his car as he does in releasing the clutch gently?
To be honest I'm surprised by how frequently I'm reminded not to do things that damage the car, seeing as I've not done anything to warrant it. Yet.
I just didn't think it would come up- because OBVIOUSLY. Obviously you shouldn't back into things, or drive in the wrong gear, or pull away with the hand break up, or grind kerbs. If I do any of these things, I know it's wrong because a) I'm not a moron and b) my instructor would no doubt send kittens streaming from his arse in protest.
I've had six lessons. After every one I have the bitter stale stench of nervous sweat upon me. And I feel ashamed of that. Ideal Brown says "how was your lesson?" and I say "Okay. I got bollocked again" and he makes consoling "aw" noises, but it's fine; I know I'm going to fuck up. I know I'm going to get bollocked. I know this; every week I expect it. What concerns me is that my instructor seems always to be surprised when, as a learner driver, I fuck up whilst driving. A car. In rush hour traffic. Sometimes on double roundabouts.
Every bollocking is 100% deserved but while I'm chastising myself, I have noticed that they always come about at the 17:40 mark, when EVERYONE EXISTING IN THE GREENWICH MEAN TIME ZONE IS TRYING TO GET TO SOMEWHERE FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Actually, to be fair I had a truly horrible 11am lesson two weeks ago. Apparently the learner driver before me had emptied my instructor's Cup Of Tolerance and left a bag of sand in his vagina, which dried up his Well Of Patience.
I don't do myself any favours; I'm a 26 year old "artist" with we-can't-hire-this-person-to-represent-our-company hair. I have a tattoo on my finger; the cardinal sign of an irresponsible bint who has no respect for her probable handshakes with potential future-bosses. It smacks more of "I don't know what it is to have to do anything" than "I'm making it on my own and am allowing myself to look a pig while I go about it"
Speaking objectively, I wouldn't even want to teach me to drive. I'd roll my eyes at me. Nevertheless, I work really hard at enabling bad hair decisions that have no professional ramifications.
So every week, when I inevitably get shouted at, I'm aware that I'm paying someone to do it to me, which makes me desperately want to know that I'm on the right track. Also, I haven't had a boss in a while, so getting stick really puts kinks in my concentration. I huffily think "I work very hard to earn the bare minimum so I can get by with awful prospects and an unstable future so that I don't have to have a dickhead tell me what to do. THANKS"
The problem is that I'm drawing a blank on progress. You don't get many "goods" because it feels like getting congratulated for correctly driving the car you are in control of is akin to congratulating someone for wiping their arse after shitting; it's just the done thing and to not do it is wrong. Unthinkable even.
Next time I get SHAT ALL OVER IN TRAFFIC* I'll silently congratulate myself for finally being able to afford to pay someone to do it.
*I wrote this two weeks ago; I did not silently congratulate myself. I really needed a wee and really just wanted to go to the loo more than anything else.
Man, isn't cycling great?