In case it hasn’t been made obvious so far, I am a student. This means that most members of my social circle (that were born in the same decade I was…) can be roughly summed up in two categories: the ones that know how to drive but can’t afford a car and the ones that haven’t had the time/money/inclination to get a licence. And where does Yours Truly fit in this oversimplification? Well… I may have been playing hopscotch with Option B for the past few weeks. Part of me has been pointing out how FREAKING EXPENSIVE it is to actually learn how to drive but an equally nagging, different part of me has been very sensibly saying that sometime very soon I will find myself needing to drive. So I crossed the proverbial Rubicon and contacted a driving school in my city.
Even as these lines are being written my stomach has been replaced by a merry-go-round and I am by turns appropriately horrified at putting my fellow humans at risk by driving (which I am told is standard reaction to newbies so no surprises here), excited(mainly my inner child for whom driving is a whole other kind of cool), anxious (because they said they’d come in contact with me within 24 hours and I still haven’t heard anything…21 hours and counting…) and well just plain out weird. I mean, come on! When you’re little driving is the cool and pretty damn convenient thing grown-ups do to get you from place to place. Then it becomes the cool thing you could be doing, a sign of independence (cue the teenage whines of “But muuuuuuuum! In America I would have a licence by now! Why can’t I take the car?”) Then comes the stage where you have the licence but no car to show it off on. And then, I’m told by such reliable sources as my parents -and pretty much every parental unit I’ve met-, comes the stage when you become everyone else’s taxi, either because your car is bigger or because your kids are too young to steal it. Wow! Kind of a letdown! Er, why do I have to get a licence again? Because in the long term it’s cheaper than getting to train to everywhere…. Right. Good point. Thank you snarky, conveniently italics-ised second voice. You’re welcome. Sucker. -ahem- Moving on.
But yeah, back to my title. Learning to drive is a rite of passage, I think. It’s one of those things like washing your own clothes and paying your own rent (with your parent’s money but never mind schematics) that mark you as an adult. I’m not gonna touch on the rather spiky subject of “whose money are you living off” as this is meant to be a half-serious post only but you get the message. Bit like a level-up in a video game, once achieved it unlocks a whole lot of new cool extras. Is that a reason to start classes as soon as it is legally possible? Personally, my answer is no. I’ve been in cars driven by new drivers and seen them speed past me as I cower on the pavement. I’m not saying young drivers or fresh licence holders are menaces of Dick Dastardly’s proportions. I just think that before you start something that you subconsciously categorise as “adult” you need to feel like an adult. And -myself included- I have yet to meet an 18-year old that I would comfortably describe as a mature, comfortable-with-taking-responsibilities adult.