Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Driving Test.

I must becoming more relaxed about driving.  I'm started to overcome my fear that left me with some serious doubts about my ability to drive.  The irony of having my other vehicle wiped out by an ambulance is finally beginning to fade.
Yes indeed, I'm getting that little bit more confident.  The white knuckles on the steering wheel aren't quite so white.  The stiffening in my shoulders and the tension in my legs; has, at long last, reduced in its intensity.  Hell, it's reaching a stage where little flickers of 'road rage' have started to return.  Yep, I'm getting pissed off with all those rude and inconsiderate drivers.  'Hey jerk, your indicator light not working!?'  I mumble under my breath.  'Your horn works; try your lights!'  I think to myself.  'Hey son?  Did you see the way that idiot cut in front of me?'  I exclaim to my rather bemused lad.  Then I note the sticker on the car in front.  'I maybe slow but I'm ahead of you'.
Okay.  Slight exaggeration about the 'road rage'.  I've always taken pride that I endeavour to be a cool, calm and considerate motorist.  So now I go on a journey.  My first long drive since the day that ambulance customised the rear end of my other car.  I'm heading off on my own to a place I've never been before.  I'm crapping myself when I realise that I shall be on a motorway for the first time in nearly ten years.  This is going to be one mighty challenge.  A challenge; a journey that will help me reclaim my faltering self esteem.
I will drive slowly and cautiously.  'Hmmm..why is that vehicle behind me flashing their lights and beeping their horn? Whoops!  My apologies tractor driver.  Did you wish to overtake me?'  Fair enough.  Another slight stretching of the truth.  Yet, I will be ever so careful.  Once on the motorway; I shall stay in the slow lane behind that old fart towing a caravan.  I wouldn't dare go in the fast lane and have some dude in a black BMW; so close to the back of my car, I can see how angry he is as he chats away illegally on his mobile phone.  No chance of that.  Stay behind the old fart towing a caravan.
I will make sure I've got plenty of music to listen too.  Perhaps of bit of 'Gary Numan' singing, ' here in my car I'm the safest of all...'  Maybe a bit of 'The Cars' singing, 'who's gonna' drive you home tonight..'   Or, a touch of  the 'Beach Boys',  'and we'll have fun, fun, fun, now that daddy took the T-bird away..'
Have you ever noticed that cars have 'faces'?  My car, yes that's my car pictured; has a nice smiley face.  A car with a very smiley face is the 'Austin Healey 'bugeye' Sprite'.  A car with a rather puzzled look and a 'moustache'; is the old 'Karmann Ghia'.  Then there's the 1965 'Citroen Ami'.  It looks pretty sad bordering on tears flowing down its grill.

Well, look at me, if you dare.  Note the sheer terror etched in the face of the old guy.  'Nice car; good car; we are going off on an adventure.'  So I'm heading out on my own very personal driving test.  It's a lot more than just me driving a car.  It's about me challenging  my other inner fears and doubts.  Did I ever tell you that I have been driving since 1972?   Yeah I know.  I really should get some sleep....


  1. Come to think of it, my truck has a "Out of my way" look to him. Nice post, Gary. Brings back old memories.

  2. Wow, that must have been one hell of a accident you were in if you haven't driven for that long. I've been in an accident myself, that shook me for a couple years. I would be interested to know a few more details about your crash -not that I'm writing a damn book or anything. :-) Must have scarred you a bit, actually, emotionally.

    Good for you that you've overcome your fears and gone back on the road again. Nice pic of you and your ride there, dude. And you say you are getting some sparks of the ol' road rage back, aye? Ha hah. Well, good for you. Take care.

  3. I'm so glad to hear you're returning to this measure of independence. Good on you, Gary!
    Your attitude is inspiring.
    Peaceful travels,
    Dixie x

  4. Dear Gary,
    Great that you are "on the road again" (I think that one was Willie Nelson- correct me if I'm wrong).
    In fact, I remember your "ambulance irony" blog, in which you described your accident. So, it is rather a nerve-wracking and brave thing for you to get behind the wheel again. So very well done to you!
    Intersting that you note that cars have "faces" of their own. I once had a Fiat 500 which had very child-like, innocent features. (Mmmmm.I believe that's what psychiatrists would call an "illusion").Still, maybe you could put a moustache on your car to match the one on your handsome, dude-like face!
    Anyway, I hope you have a great time in Durham and who knows, after such a confidence building trip you may even visit yours truly- despite the resoundingly "gay" name of my street!
    Yours with Very Best Wishes,

  5. Dear Gary, I think you are so brave to even face a motorway. I had never driven one before my own accident and I don't think I ever will. My car is a Panda and although it doesn't look like a bear, it does give me that cuddly feeling when I sit inside. It's amazing how much confidence that little car has given me back. I always listen to magical music as I am driving (anything by Medwyn Goodall) fab music, which inspires me as I drive along.
    Best wishes and happy driving

  6. Well done! A photograph of yourself! brilliant!
    Hugs... Carole.

  7. Hi Gary. Could you please leep off the motorway system until Saturday. I have to drive up north and I need planty of room.
    I too get a bit nervous since that unfortunate incident with the lady police officer and.... well that's another story.
    Very nice writing if I may say.

  8. All your complaints about other drivers sound very familiar to me. It must be about us older guys, but one change I have noticed recently: there seems to be a big increase in agressive female drivers. My wife has a theorey that elderly men in flat caps should'nt be allowed to drive! I know what she means.

  9. Good for you, Gary.

    I'm not prone to road rage - unless someone drives too close and then I can be heard to utter all sorts of unladylike comments. Most of the time they don't even take the opportunity to overtake - it's just the way they drive. Oooh, am annoyed just thinking about it.

    Happy driving.


  10. Good for you, Gary. It must have been an hell of an accident.

    Southern drivers are known for their mild laidback approach to freeway driving. We tend to let others pass and we nod at each other at a four way stops. As a group we are a mild bunch. As the mass migration of peoples from colder climates have invaded the south, we natives have been horrified and terrorified by the aggression of our new neighbors. So if you drive in the South and you are not a native, instead of shooting me the bird... just accept our cultural diversity.

  11. Hi Joylene,
    I think it's best not to upset your truck. I used to have a very charming, sexy-looking truck...it was a 'pick-up' truck:-)
    Thanks, Joylene. I bet you could take your, "Out of my way" truck, down 'Memory Lane'.
    Kind wishes, Gary

  12. aw Gary, you must be so excited to go on a ride, driving that 'nice' and 'good' car of yours.

    Oh and yes, I have noticed that cars have 'faces', some cars just annoy me by the way the look from behind. seriously. I wonder if there's something wrong with me. :p

    I hope you've rested well, and got to take your car for a spin. Did you have fun?

  13. Hi Kelly,
    I hadn't driven a car in just over two years. I have not been on a motorway (highway) in nearly ten years.
    I tried to look at the irony at having my car ploughed into by an ambulance. I did a blog about it, if you wish to check it out
    I get a bit freaked when I see an emergency vehicle in action but I have coped with that very well.
    Hey Kelly, good for you also for overcoming your nerves. Getting back on the road can be quite traumatic. At least nobody was hurt in my crash. For that, I am most grateful.
    You had the courage to look at the old guy in the photo? Well done:-)
    I don't really get 'road rage' but I do get kinda' pissed off at times:-) I must be getting my confidence back.
    Thanks Kelly. With respect, Gary

  14. Hi Dixie,
    Thank you kindly. Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.
    You have been an inspiration to me in regards to getting back out there. So I am most grateful to you,
    Warm wishes and kindness, Gary x

  15. Dear David,
    Yes it most certainly was Willie Nelson who sang that song.
    Well, that 'Ambulance and Irony' blog was a most therapeutic release. I think it was healthy for me to try and work through the trauma of a very surreal night.
    I reckon that folks are now going to look at their vehicles rather differently now. Hmmm..I must go and slap a moustache on my latest 'mid-life crisis' mobile. Now where did I put the 'furry dice'?
    Thanks for such a complimentary comment. I shall endeavour to make a 'visitation' to your home, fairly soon.
    Thanks for your kind wishes, David.
    With respect and peace, Gary

  16. Dear Diane,
    Thanks for you kind wishes. I can certainly understand your apprehension regarding motorways. I just need to work through my anxiety and try to relax.
    Seems like you 'Panda' is a most reassuring car. I'm so pleased that your car makes you feel 'cuddly'. It is so great to note that you have more confidence in your driving, now. That is so inspiring to me.
    So now I shall head off and listen to a bit of magical music. In my case, I shall search out some of my old 'Jethro Tull'.
    Thank you and continued happy driving, Diane.
    With respect and magic, Gary :-)

  17. Hi Carole,
    Thanks. Well done to you for daring to look at my photograph:-) Come to think of it; well done to the guy who was brave enough to take my photo lol.
    Hugs your way, Gary x

  18. Hey Tom,
    Well, I'm not so sure I can 'leep' off the motorway system until Saturday. That would take some serious 'leeping'.
    Oh sorry. Rest assured, Tom, I am heading up north on Thursday morning. So you can relax. But hey, thanks for letting me know that you drive the roads of Britain.
    I recall a 'lady police officer'. Well, she wasn't really a police officer but she sure looked good in the uniform. She had very impressive handcuffs... But, then again, that's another story...
    Thanks for thinking it was nice writing. I appreciate that.
    Take good care and happy driving.
    With respect, Gary

  19. Hi bazza,
    My complaints are ever so slightly 'tongue-in-cheek'. Still, I do wonder why some folks think they 'own the road'.
    Yeah, for sure. It aint just aggressive 'boy racers'; heck now we have aggressive 'girl racers'.
    'Elderly men in flat caps' towing a caravan on the motorway...shudder..lol
    I know what your wife means, also.
    Thanks bazza.
    With respect and no flat caps, Gary

  20. Hi Suzanne,
    Thanks for that.
    Just like you; I'm not really prone to 'road rage'. Then again, when someone get so close to my car; they might as well hitch on to the back; I too can get really quite angry. Cannot imagine you making 'unladylike' comments:-)
    With kindness and respect, Gary x

  21. Hi 'lifeshighway',
    It sure was one hell of an accident. If it wasn't for my evasive action; it would have been considerably worse.
    That's a shame that your laid back Southern driving style has been upset by a new type of driver. If I lived in the Southern States, rest assured that I would be a kind and considerate driver. If everyone drove that way, life on the road, would progress so much more smoothly.
    Generally speaking, because the roads are so narrow here in Britain; cooperation on the roads is usually quite good. Always warms my heart when another driver acknowledges my considerate behaviour with a nod and a wave. In turn, I acknowledge others polite driving styles.
    Thank you, my friend.
    With respect, Gary.

  22. Hi Shanaz,
    I'm really quite excited to go for a long spin in my 'smiley face' car.
    I don't think there is anything wrong with you. I think I might just start staring at the rear end of cars and watch them omit their dirty fumes. Oh yuck :-)
    I'm having fun with my car and now my fun shall be increased by going on a long journey to a location I've never been to before. Yikes!
    Thanks Shanaz.
    With peace and respect, your way, Gary :-)

  23. I'm so happy and proud for you that you have overcome these fears. Once you have been in an accident, I'm sure that's not easy. All of life is a ride. Enjoy it, my friend!

  24. Driving since 1972! 1973 for me.

    I learnt in the original Ford Escort.

    It's a strange thing, driving. On the one hand it gives you so much control and on the other it shows up all your failings.

    Our cars become an expression of ouselves. We sit like the brain in the skull at the wheel of our car and what do we do?

    Do we behave rationally as a brain controlling the body should do?

    No, we revert to some primeval monster as we rant and rave...if not overtly then at least covertly.

    I do. I swear and mouth obscenities in a way tht I would never dream of outside the car.

    It is as though that metal carapace allows me to express my primitive ID.

    Imagine if we behaved like that when walking on the pavements and getting cut up and all the rest.

    It doesn't bear thinking about.

  25. Hi John,
    What an interesting comment you have left.
    I most definitely agree with what you have alluded too. Indeed, our vehicles, to some degree, become an expression of our personalities, both good and bad.
    Now, when it comes to pavements (sidewalks), I sometimes get a bit of 'pedestrian rage'; when a group of folks are blocking the pavement and you have to walk around them. What I'm thinking about doing to them does not bear mentioning:-)
    Thanks John. With respect, Gary.


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.