14 February 2012

Driven to Drive

Our Focus
Since joining the WI I’ve suddenly I’ve found myself thrust into a busy social life, and it’s become clear that I need to sort out my driving.

Because I lived overseas I started driving at 16, but only automatic cars. When I moved to the UK 12 years ago I didn’t need (and couldn’t afford) a car so I stopped driving.

In 2006 my Mum paid for me to take some UK driving lessons so I could drive her around when she came to visit. It didn’t take me long to pass my test, but virtually all the cars I drove after passing my test were automatic. So when it came time to drive Mr Goldfish’s car I was already rusty.

Mr Goldfish had an old Fiat Bravo that had seen better days. It would clatter and shake and absolutely terrified me. I was always convinced it was in the wrong gear and I would completely ruin the clutch. The experience was so traumatic that it’s been difficult to get behind the wheel since.

We bought a new Ford Focus a couple of years ago, and I know I can drive this car...but I can’t. I even have trouble starting the damn thing! The resulting panic is nearly paralysing.

We’ve tried to find empty industrial estates where I can practise without the stress of other drivers getting irritated every time I stall the car, but none are especially close. I’ve been getting better each time, but with months in between sessions it's like starting over each time. We’ve been planning to book some refresher lessons, but money has been so tight it always seemed a luxury.

I’ve decided I have to bite the bullet and get it sorted. I can't keep dragging Mr Goldfish out every time I want to go somewhere. (And all the extra driving to pick me up and drop me off also doesn't help our carbonfootprint!) I have a bit of birthday money left and we’ve had a small windfall which should be enough for a few lessons.

Now I just have to overcome my social anxiety long enough to find a driving instructor....