Feeling powerful is fantastic. Feeling arrogant is not. There is no feeling of power quite like the one that occurs when cruising down a straight stretch of road, possibly on a sunny day, with the window cracked open, sunglasses on, radio blasting. This is when I think I am cool. This is when I think I am in charge of making a big hunk of metal and glass move at high speeds. This is when I think I am invincible. This is when I probably look to the outside world as though I believe I own the road, and this might be when I’m likely to make stupid decisions.
Clever and stupid go hand in hand. I will hold my hands up and say I know nothing about cars. If I got a flat tyre I wouldn’t know how to change it. I vaguely know how to open the bonnet, check the oil and refill the screen wash. Anything else under there scares me. However, sometimes I know things about cars or driving or the rules of the open road, and the most smug feeling of satisfaction settles over me like a fine mist. I are clever, I think to myself. While I was learning to drive, my instructor flogged me a book that contained all the many and myriad rules of driving. I needed to know about 0.001% of it in order to pass my theory and practical tests, and less still to function in the real world as a driver. While it may not have been particularly useful, this book was fascinating. As I love to read and love to learn and am obsessed with knowing things, the book was incredibly useful for me. I found out useful useless pieces of information such as – did you know that it’s possible to get points on your license for driving through a puddle and splashing a pedestrian?
It may be true that a bad workman blames his tools – but bad tools are a useful scapegoat. I am not a great driver, but my car is also not the greatest it could be. I mean, it’s in great condition and I love it, but the heating doesn’t work and the brakes squeal like a stuck pig when it’s been raining. (Why does the weather affect the sound my brakes make?! Refer to the above point about me being utterly clueless when it comes to cars.) It’s really useful sometimes to be able to blame your bad tools for your bad workmanship.
Have you learnt any lessons from driving?
Give me ideas for more ‘lessons learned’ posts!