This is my dream car – an Austin Healey.
There’s somehow become a massive gap between my love of classic cars and my absolute fear of driving.
My Mission has a section called “Fear the fear and do it anyway” which includes a few things that I find intimidating and frightening including no. 33, driving.
I passed my driving test first time when I was 18 years old but unfortunately had little chance or need to drive again until we moved to just outside Cheltenham when I was in my 30s.
Which is when I realised that not driving had become a Big Problem.
I can’t quite call it a phobia because it doesn’t seem irrational to me – I don’t feel competent, I don’t feel in control of the car, so how can it possibly be safe for me to drive?
There is a constant little voice in my head – What if you read the road signs wrong? The road markings are difficult, you’ll end up in the wrong lane! I can’t remember how to maneuver the car to park it. I can’t sense how wide the car is. Which direction, which direction?! And on and on…
The problem is the evidence that thr Fear is not entirely irrational – an early journey where I misread the traffic signals and paused, causing another driver to bump into us; my first drive in the Vectra where a wanker in a Porsche Cayenne nudged us because I didn’t exit the estate fast enough; the time I bumped (v gently, no damage, thankfully) a car getting out of Tesco; the time my door flew open on a corner and scared me and a pedestrian shitless. And not forgetting the time I drove to Stroud; the way there the lens fell out of my glasses (I need them for driving) and the way back I got onto the wrong motorway and drove home via Bristol…
I did some refresher lessons when we moved here and was declared competent but struggled with the Vectra estate we owned at that time – I had to sit close up to the steering wheel just to reach the pedals, the clutch was a bit challenging and the dual fuel thing was confusing!
I then did some hypnotherapy which I think was quite successful in some ways. But somehow despite having got a nice shiny new Grand Scenic with a good driving position and a clutch in good condition and not even a hand brake to get jammed, a year later and I’m no further forward in my aim, which is to just be able to get into the car and drive without worry.
For a while it wasn’t quite so obvious an issue – Matt needed the car to get to work and it was a faff to drop him off/pick him up and I was working during the day so rarely needed to drive etc etc.
However, Matt can now easily take the bus into work and I’m on maternity leave and I’m missing out on more things than ever because of my fear and the lack of alternative transport.
Mostly this fear has just affected me (other than placing the burden of driving upon poor Matt) but more and more it will affect the children which seems terribly unfair.
The Fear has been preying on my mind a bit recently – perhaps I’m psychic because we just got a letter inviting Rhys to a 6-week speech therapy group that will help prepare him for school. It’ll be impossible to bus to, taxis will be prohibitively expensive, and Matt’s at work.
The obvious answer is I need to drive there. It’s not a difficult or long journey, it’s one I’ve driven in the past. I need to work how to JFDI.