And Now For Something Completely Different

I love driving. I guess I’ve always known this, but it’s about time I come to terms with it and accept that I love driving. Whether it’s the sense of absolute freedom that owning something I can get into an essentially drive anywhere I want, whenever I want to (something I have yet to sporadically do, but I’m sure I’ll do it, one day), or the idea that I am in control of a machine weighing almost 2 tonnes, I’m not sure, but it’s a great feeling.

That said, there are a number of aspects of driving that I could easily do without (these namely being the awkward struggle to get the petrol cap off my car when it needs petrol, and other drivers).

And now, because I’m bored and out of things to watch on TV, here’s a few of my brief driving life’s high and low points.

I got my first car, a Citroen C2, before I had passed my driving test. The salesman had to drive me around the car park a few times, so that I could get a feel for the car. Loved it from the first moment I got it, as much as a total spazmodic of a vehicle that it was (called Timmy after South Park’s Timmy).

The first thing I did when I got the car home was take off the wheel trims. I decided that I didn’t want to damage them. What damage I thought I could actually do to wheel trims while having driving lessons, I’m not quite sure now, but the idea was grand and I went with it.

Driving lessons were fun, mostly because my instructor was an awesomest of awesome instructors. He’d let us listen to music and everything, very easy-going, but still a good teacher.

I passed my driving test first time, and — like all people who pass their test first time — I am still just a little bit smug about it. That said, I am confident that I should have failed. I had 12 minors on the results, and even then I think the examiner was just being nice. It was a Saturday, and I think it was sunny, so I’ll just assume he was in a good mood.

I didn’t use those green L plates once I’d passed, despite encouragement from various family members to put them on. I’m sorry, but it’s hard enough being a new driver on the road without other driver’s knowing that you’re a new driver.

I reattached my wheel trims once I’d passed my test, confident that I was now competent enough to…not hit things. Long story short, I didn’t reattach them all right, and I lost one going around a roundabout too fast, and another driving down one of the swirly ramps in a Manchester car park. I eventually got new ones, while at the same time having to pay something ridiculous like £75 for a new wing mirror that some tit had knocked off my passenger side while parked outside my mother’s house.

I never learned to drive a manual car. Only automatic. The Citroen was a semi-automatic, which was close enough. It was a very tetchy gearbox, however, and there were times — especially towards the end of our time together, and in particular when driving up hills) — that it would completely spaz out and stick the car back into neutral. Freaked the life out of me, every time, and I’m sure the drivers behind me, as well. I took it to the dealership for advice on this, to which they said since it didn’t happen all the time, they couldn’t test it and I had to basically deal with it. Which was nice.

I crashed Timmy twice in the time I had him. Both times, the accident involved me and mother nature. And a curb. First time, I hit ice and skidded. Into a curb. The wheel fell off. Just popped right off the axel. The car was never the same after that, and I’m pretty sure it hated me for it. The gearbox problems started shortly after, although it wasn’t until we moved to a house on a hill that I noticed it more often. The second time I crashed it, same thing. Weather. Skidded. Curb. Wheel off. Same wheel and everything (well, no, not the actual same wheel, that wheel would’ve been replaced, but you get the idea). The car didn’t take too well to being crashed, as I’m sure you can imagine. The gearbox was never right to begin with, but after the crash(es) it definitely became more difficult to predict. Thankfully, it never cut out on me while driving on the motorway, but there were tense seconds whenever it did decide to just flick off. There was one time, at work, when I had to leave one of my technicians to walk to our customer because the car just stopped and wouldn’t go into gear. Just kangaroo’d forwards, spazzed out, and flicked back off. After fifteen or so minutes of trying, I gave up and called the breakdown company. When the time the guy turned up, Timmy worked for him. Yeah, that car hated me. I just hope he treats his new owner better, maybe if his new owner gives him the care I should’ve…

My second car, a Nissan Qashqai (say: Cash-kye] , was significantly better mechanically, although I still maintain Timmy was my favourite of the two cars, for all his faults. I’ve considered going back to another C2 for my next car, but since the pricing on them has gone completely up the wall, I’ll be re-thinking that idea. I called this car Beast. He lives up to his name, and I have had no faults to speak of with him. And I haven’t crashed him. Yet. Although I did reverse him into a pole one time. And I hit his side mirror on a post van (which I maintain was the postie’s fault; he shouldn’t have been parked on double yellows).

Anyway, now I’ve forgotten how I was going to end this post, and I’m hungry and in need of a cup of tea, so here’s a collage of my cars.