Most kids, on their sixteenth birthday are thrilled to get their Learners. Me? Not so much.
Like all teenagers, I was consumed by the fear of what other teenagers thought of me.
I would have driven, had it been in another town or on empty streets, but not in the small town I grew up in where everybody knew me, and would judge or laugh or simply see.
What a ridiculous concept – they were all doing the same thing I should have been doing and in a year’s time, they got their P’s while I grew smaller and smaller inside myself whenever the subject of driving came up.
How embarrassing, to be almost-30, back in that tiny hometown where there’s no such thing as public transport, catching taxis everywhere I need to go and hyperventilating about my next work appraisal, where my boss will remind me that 3 years after commencing my job, I still don’t have my licence – one of the selection criteria required to obtain that position.
My inability to drive has long been a source of anxiety and shame for me and I’ve essentially made it The Biggest Deal Ever.
At around 2pm today, I will be having my first driving lesson with a proper instructor.
My last driving lesson was 14 years ago, with my mother. I took corners at 60km/h and ended that lesson by driving into her garden.
Needless to say, I am pretty nervous today.
Until a couple of years ago, I felt this same kind of anxiety about everything – When I lived in cities I couldn’t catch a bus because I was terrified that the driver would ignore my request to stop, leaving me looking like an idiot to the rest of the passengers. Nor would I use an umbrella because I can’t ever get them closed again without having to wrestle it into submission.
I’m pleased to say that I am now a regular bus-catching umbrella aficionado, liberated from my insane fears by a healthy dose of positive self-esteem. I’m hoping that at around 3pm this afternoon, I’ll be able to add excited fledgling driver to that short list of accomplishments.
In the meantime though, I would possibly caution those people in my town to stay off the roads, (or out of gardens) just for today.