It was probably a bad decision. Especially as I was so close to qualifying for my test. And let’s face it, I think deep down inside part of me knew that this cessation in acquiring this particular skill was anything but temporarily.
Driving never seemed natural. Not to me. I always felt I was breaking some secret rule, some hidden druidic law concealed at the very heart of my own personal universe. I was never meant to drive.
I never felt the burning desire like most of my peers did in my late teens. Never felt the lure of having my own set of wheels in my twenties. And just wasn’t career minded enough in my thirties to see how being able to transport myself beyond the walkable limits of Leamington Spa might aid me in my desperate search to find a more soul satisfying line of employment.
I gulled myself that I wasn’t the only one. I had numerous male friends who couldn’t drive, hadn’t learnt and exhibited utterly no desire to do so. One of those, Dave, has been my mate since I was 16. I always felt we were destined to walk the earth, to quote Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, “like Cain”. With occasional reference made to a bicycle. I haven’t had regular contact with Dave for a few years now but I knew he and I were upholding the virtues of “Shanks’s Pony”.
I even kidded myself that all this was ecologically responsible. The last thing the world needs is another driver and another car on the road, right?
Not learning how to drive sat comfortably with me. It was me; it was who I was and I was content.
I learnt last week that Dave, sometime over the last few years, has not only learnt to drive but also owns a car. He’s made a couple of references to it on Facebook. I was so ingrained in how I thought of us two that I actually thought he was joking the first time. That it was a wind-up.
He really does own a people carrier and can drive the ruddy thing. Up and down the country and even across to Europe if he goes via the Eurotunnel.
I am the last member of the Can’t Drive Club. The schism that life has thrown up between Dave and I is worse than I ever imagined. He’s now a motorist and I’m just a pedestrian.
I haven’t felt this bad since all my school mates got picked to be prefects and I didn’t.
The world is leaving me behind.
Quite literally in fact.
With the wind behind me, going downhill on a good day, I might be able to reach 15 miles an hour… but that really is my top limit.