Something happened 20 years ago that means that still now, at the tender age of 38, my driving confidence goes up and down all the time. I can drive, I have a driving licence but I also have a constant daily reminder, in the form of pain, of a serious accident 20 years ago. I feel pain every day but I get on with it but some days it just hurts that little bit more and all I want to do is chop my head off. Today is one of such days, I am in pain and doing my best, as is my feisty usual, not to reach for the painkillers.
Of course, it doesn't help that in the UK they drive and sit on "the other side", with everything in the "wrong" side of the car (sorry guys, I know for you is standard but I grew up "on the other side). I now have an automatic car which has made driving much easier but I still only seem to drive to those places where I have been a million times and where I know exactly where I am going and more or less what to expect. I still don't want to drive on motorways or to the centre of Cambridge and none of this is helped by the fact that to get out of our driveway I have to drive onto a very busy A road.
It is something I am embarrassed to admit, it is something that stops me from doing things and it is something that I hate about myself. But at the same time it is something that brings back a lot of painful memories of being just two weeks from my 18th birthday, leisurely walking on a beach promenade one summer, reaching a pedestrian crossing to cross over to the sand and the sea, stopping, seeing the car on my left (it was spain) stop to let me cross, no cars to be seen on the right, walking and suddenly seeing this shiny black bullet heading towards me from the right and, finally, the split-second decision that saved my life by retracing my steps.
I had indeed a millisecond to decide whether I ran to the other side of the road or ran back, I was right in the middle of the far lane at that moment, I ran back but the car still hit me because the driver hadn't even seen me, he kind of decided to brake once he felt something hit his beloved car.
Gory details aside, I was very lucky but a lot happened in the following hours and the following years that has left a lot of pain behind.
I was studying for my driving test back then and about to start driving classes, needless to say it was a huge effort, I got my licence, I drove, then I didn't, then I drove all around Spain, then I didn't, then I moved to the UK and I didn't, now I do but on a very limited basis. I am a safe driver or as Mr Tapas puts it "You can drive so just get on with it!", I know I can drive but that little bit of my brain underneath one of my scars from reconstructive surgery is reminding me that you never know what the rest of the other people on the road are doing, so I get nervous.
We have kept LittleT rear facing in the car so that at least I have the peace of mind that she is in one of the safest car seats in the market and I am totally fine when driven by another person but now more than ever I am missing out on so much and that means that my little girl does too. I want to be able to get the confidence to get in the car without even thinking about it (other than all the paraphernalia that I need nowadays to take LittleT anywhere).
So, today I have taken a decision: I am going to get the help of a driving instructor and in fact as soon as I press publish on this post I will make the call.
I have emailed Mr Tapas my decision since he is at work, something that I am sure he will be very happy to read as it affects our little family to quite a large extent, and I have told you all about it, now there is no going back, so feel free to pester me about it (gently) as much as you want and I will owe you updates.
Please help me remain feisty and gain back my confidence in driving.
If you would like to know how I am getting on, come this way for a little update and, if you live in the UK and have need to build your driving confidence, to find out how to apply for a free two hours driving course with the AA.