Except I don’t, not at all.
And actually, I can drive. I miraculously passed my test when I was 17, despite snappily telling the driving examiner to please be quiet! when he was chatting away and I was trying to execute a hill start in morning rush hour traffic at the top of Queen’s Road.
He handed me the pass certificate with a wry smile. I know you can drive, Miss Trudi, you just didn’t manage it today. I’m passing you anyway. You’re not! I gasped, taking the certificate, eyes boggling out of my head. He snatched it back. I might change my mind? he countered, teasing. Idiot man. I grabbed it and ran.
It wasn’t exactly a glorious start.
Still, I’d passed, and so I set out bravely forth in my Dad’s huge Volvo. I could barely see over the steering wheel. It wasn’t easy, and then one day Dad asked me to collect it from the garage after its service. The entire garage of burly mechanics stopped work to watch, highly amused by this blushing, tiny girl with the Kate Bush hair, trying to reverse out onto Canal Road at 5pm… Well, that was the day I stopped driving that car.
Yet I’ve been determined to drive properly ever since – just like anyone else. I’ve tried many times.
When I first had a baby, I took a few refresher lessons. The driving instructor was a joker, full of his own hilarious version of fun. I soon found out that his idea of a good time was to make me drive unwittingly into central London, and navigate my way home from Marble Arch, wholly unaided, as he chuckled beside me. This is your car, Trudi! It hasn’t got dual controls. You’re on your own! If you can do this, you can do anything.
It didn’t work. I stopped the lessons, and I didn’t miss his meaty thighs either, and the way he pressed them against my hand every time I changed gear.
Then there was the time when I nearly cracked it, thanks to next-door-Ron, a chauffeur all his life, who would watch out for when I arrived home, and guide me into a parking space, and help me unload the shopping and the babies.
So close! I almost did it then; I almost became a normal person.
Alas. Then there was the incident I still can’t speak of, involving me, our car, and an expensive car, and a large hike in our insurance premium the following year.
I haven’t driven since. I don’t trust myself. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it.
The thought of it makes me want to cry.
I don’t like the feeling of being a dependant. I couldn’t leave, even if I thought about it. And if Trump keeps on provoking North Korea, I’m not at all sure South West Trains are going to be much help in getting me out of here and up to the Scottish Highlands.*
Maybe I need a fun project to work towards. Shall I drive over to visit? Where do you live? I guess I could drive all through Europe, if I got pretty good.
But don’t hold your breath!
*Which is where I’m going. I’ve got it all planned out. How about you?
Photos: Juliet Mckee