Sunday, January 16, 2005

Guilty secret

by Suw on January 16, 2005

When I was 18, I totalled my Mum's car. Three months after passing my test on the second attempt, (I failed the first one due to a handbrake turn), I spun my Mum's car, putting it up a bank and into the back of a 'give way' sign. By the time I had finished with it, the front wheels weren't touching the ground. If I remember correctly, the back wheels weren't either.
My parents forced me to drive after the accident, but sitting in a (new) car with my Mum's hand hovering permanently over the handbrake didn't do my confidence much good. Not that my confidence had ever been that great as I'd always been secretly terrified of cars. I now haven't driven for about 15 years.
Let me just give you a bit of background. I come from a very car-oriented family. My brother used to build replica 1920s Fords and works now in the motor trade. My Dad used to be a rally driver and navigator, and regularly went karting and hill climbing. (He also used to go handgliding, using a handglider that he made himself from a photo in a magazine. You get the picture.) Various cousins, uncles and grandparents have raced. My great-grandparents owned a garage. Cars are in the blood.
Except, it all sort of skipped a generation with me. Cars have always scared the living crap out of me, even before I totalled my Mum's. I mean… you're getting into a machine… you're sitting in a machine that moves at high speed. People die in cars. Frequently. Painfully.
Anyway, I stopped having the nightmares about driving a few years ago, which is good. I've even had some dreams where I was quite happily driving. But I still get jumpy in a car, and I still don't think that me, driving, is a good idea. Not for me, not for my passengers, not for anyone.
But… just recently… I've really been enjoying watching Top Gear. I don't know what they are talking about half the time, but Richard Hammond is cute and Jeremy Clarkson is funny. The other dude is, well, whatever. I can't believe this. I am actually enjoying a programme about cars. They make driving look like fun. They make cars look interesting. And you know what? It's starting to make me want one.
But don't worry. For the sake of public safety, I shan't be getting one. I'm still too lily-livered to actually want to drive again.

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