Right, I know I was a learner driver once and I need to be sympathetic because at one point in my life I didn’t know what a clutch was and that turning a corner in fourth gear would run the van off the road, onto the verge, and narrowly miss a lamppost.
I know this all.
But, on my way to work this morning, as I sat behind a learner having a driving lesson who was either on their very first try or had lost half their brain, I didn’t care.
So, I have my dad’s van now. Bus journeys are, once again, for losers. It means I don’t have to endure meaningless conversation with potentially crazy elderly people, and also avoid the passive aggressive need to tweet swears at TFL for their actual incompetence.
I mean, how difficult is it for a bus that starts NOT ONE STOP AFTER MINE to arrive on time, and not stinking of booze and urine. IT’S 8:32am. WHY ARE THERE BEER CANS ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LIKE LOST SOULS WANDERING THE DEPTHS OF PURGATORY? Holy hell.
Anyway. Now I have a van I have the joy of congestion, terrible drivers, terrible parking, kamikaze idiots on pushbikes who think the road belongs to them when there’s a perfectly clear cycle path that no man has stepped foot on for a decade, and learner drivers.
As I say, I know I should be sympathetic. But how, when their very nature of driving defies all logic?
So there’s this road. It’s 30mph, then 40mph, then 30mph, then 40mph then it stays 30mph pretty much up until the M25. And because it changes so much, the speed limit signs are lit up like beacons of hope to all those who are actually able to make it up to the limit. Actual lights, flashing, like so many seedy soho bars. Elvis would love this part of Essex. It GLOWS.
The driver in question – a woman, however make no comments about this – seemed to get this backwards. When it was 30, she’d be doing 45. When it was 40 she’d barely scrape past 22. Where the instructor was I have no clue.
It was infuriating. I was one car behind her, and the random braking got too much for the driver trapped in the middle. He started tailgating, and on another seemingly random emergency brake from Ms Leaner, nudged the learner driver’s car because literally who knew a slight camber on the road warrants an emergency brake.
This prompted a swerve and the learner driver to slow to crawling speed. You could see the instructor gesturing wildly at the girl to carry on driving. She picked up speed again and fearing for my sanity, and the sanity of of the literal 17 car queue behind, I took a short cut.
Round the roads I spun, until I got to the crossing I knew the learner was approaching. Would I make it? WOULD I BEAT THE LEARNER LIKE THIS DOG ESCAPING A KILLER WAVE?
As randomly as ever, the woman SPED UP TO 50 ON THE 30MPH ROAD cutting me off and leaving me now having to squeeze further back in the queue of the 17 cars.
I saw the look on the instructor’s face. It was of a man who had lost all hope. He was either going to die on this journey at the hands of the learner driver, or in his bed thanks to heart failure.