To give this some context, I have my full drivers licence (it's brilliant, no really, it is) but I haven't actually driven since mid 2004. I also learnt in an automatic and we have a manual car. Suffice it to say, I was absolutely terrified.
I have never liked driving. I used to have nightmares about it before I ever had lessons, and I've been having them again. I have horror filled dreams of being in a runaway car that's speeding, to find myself crashing and creating a Loz-shaped indent around a stobie pole. I concoct mindscapes where there's an emergency, I have to get somewhere, and I scream down the street in someone else's vehicle, only to find there is no brake.
The ridiculous thing is that I love cars. From an environmental standpoint I don't love them so much. But from a technological standpoint? Oh yes, baby. I love looking at cars, at writing about cars. I do, in fact, know things about cars. I like watching Pimp my Ride and Top Gear. I recently bought a car encyclopedia "for my brother" (and it sits, at this moment in time, right next to my left hand on my desk.)
But driving cars is not one of the things I enjoy. Even when I'm not filled with dread, the feel of the wheel beneath my fingers is not an orgasmic delight. I do not start singing about my boy racer rollbar. And I'll be damned if I get gooey over indication. Driving, for me, is much like washing up - I know that eventually I'll have to do it, but I'd prefer to stave it off until I've actually bred some sort of life-sucking green bacterial culture named Brian. In short - as long as humanly possible.
So yes. There I am, at this special training centre. Mum drove me there. She also sits next to me attempting not to have a great intake of breath with every move I make. And I'm learning all about the clutch and bite point and trying not to bunny hop (which I did, frequently.) I'm steering around and trying to remember how to look in thirty different places at once whilst navigating through intersections. I park, and start, and reverse, and start, and park and change from first to second, second to first, to reverse. Oh it's thrilling stuff. And I realise, I still don't enjoy driving, but it isn't the worst thing in the world, and I'm not quite as bad as I've always assumed.
Yes. I did bunny hop. Okay. I stalled five times. I may have not looked to my left that time I turned right. I, in fact, did somehow straddle two parking spots on my third parking attempt (which, after getting the first two very well was an anomaly, I'm sure.) But for someone who hasn't driven for two years, and certainly only ever drove during specific paid-for lessons with a kindly instructor, in an automatic, I didn't completely suck. There was potential for improvement.
I may actually be driving on the roads again by the end of the year. Hell, next year I could be going places by myself. It's not safe in Adelaide anymore. I'm on the loose. In a great big metal contraption. Oh lucky day.