I had my first driving lessons this week.
At the age of 37.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long.
When all the kids at school were learning to drive, my attitude was always that I’d not be able to buy a car if I learnt, so there was no point. Besides, neither of my parents drove, so it wasn’t really a big deal.
The thought that taking lessons would be inconsequential if I couldn’t afford my own wheels pervaded through university and my early working life. Then commuting became the norm. I’ve always lived close to public transport – in two homes I’ve enjoyed the mixed blessing of having a bus stop on my door step, while another had clear line of sight to a railway terminus. And with most of my travel to places other than work being made much more enjoyable with a bottle of ale in hand, driving has always looked like an expensive hobby.
Throughout all these years I received strange looks from people when they discovered that I couldn’t drive. Some wondered if there was some deep-seated reason, like a tragic road accident that prevented me from wanting to get behind the wheel. Others – most notably girlfriends’ fathers – treated me with a sense of suspicion, assuming me as some sort of lesser man due to a lack of motoring prowess. But it never really bothered me.