Thursday, 9 February 2012

Behind the wheel

I feel privileged that I can drive a car. Having never driven one before I fulfilled a promise I made to myself many years ago. I promised that when I had a child I would learn how to drive. Till then I didn't quite fancy getting behind the wheel. So when Tara was born, and I had recovered enough, I picked up the phone and arranged 50 lessons, for which I had saved well in advance. At the very outset I told my instructor I had to give my driving test after 50 lessons. He explained that while he applauded my intentions, it was unlikely I would pass first time, and I must not give up.

He doesn't know me so I don't blame him. I completed 50 lessons, and passed my test in my very first attempt. Not because I'm a genius at driving. Far from it. But because when Mum makes up her mind, she can do anything. The only thing is that the mind must be made up by Mum and Mum alone.

Now I drive, but to a limited number of destinations. Tara's school, the occasional school party, the supermarket and to The Husband's workplace. That is about it give or take a destination. Other times I walk or take the bus.

So this morning driving Tara to school, the roads were full of rush hour traffic, more than usual. I am very aware when I drive that I have my life, Tara's life and other people's lives in my hands, so I take extra care. I don't mind if I have to slow down, stay in queue, stop at traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, drive a longer distance for parking or let a bus pull out from a bus stop in front of me. But I noticed that lots of other people don't like what I do. My letting buses go especially seems to annoy good folk.

All I want to say is, a few seconds should not matter to anyone. Driving too slow is dangerous. I agree. I don't drive slowly. But I do slow down if I'm passing a school or see small children running on the footpath ahead of their parents. In my eyes, all is takes is one wrong judgement by a child head and the loss and devastation that could follow is not worth the extra few seconds for anyone.

So to anyone out there who loses their cool? Stop, think and calm down. Being behind the wheel is a privilege. 

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