Live or Let Drive

February 7, 2010


The Mushroom is learning to drive.

I mean this in the loosest possible sense.

It would probably be more accurate to say that The Mushroom has promised she will learn to drive, has been offered driving lessons by no less than three people, and has yet to actually look at, let alone take, the theory test necessary in order for her legally to sit behind the wheel of a car in Canada.

I think The Mushroom might be scared of driving. I don’t entirely blame her; cars are useful for sitting on when it’s warm, sitting under when it’s wet, and avoiding when they’re in motion, but otherwise, I’m not a massive fan myself.

“Have you looked at the theory test yet?” asked my Dad, again.

The Mushroom looked about her for a diversion. The Baby was building a tower. Fluffy Usurper was eating my food. There was nothing else. It’s a very small flat.

“There really isn’t any point.” she eventually said.

“Why? ”

“Because I can’t see over the steering wheel of the Jeep so we’d have to get another car first.”

“Or I could buy you a cushion.”

The Mushroom looked a bit panicky. “I don’t really think a new driver could drive confidently on a cushion. What if I needed to reach the pedals really quickly? I’d be further up if I were on a cushion. I might not be able to reach the pedals at all. See?”

“Love,” said my Dad, beginning to look a little bit strained, “Short people do drive. Short people even drive Jeeps.”

She was beginning to babble now. “But I’m really really short.  Almost freakishly, some might say. I’m sure when Jeep were designing their Jeeps they didn’t think about how short some people could be and the whole, do I see over the steering wheel or do I reach the pedals dilemma that being very short can result in. In a Jeep.”

My Dad looked down and shook his head. “You promised.”

The Mushroom gave a little grunt of defeat. “Alright, I’ll look at it tonight.”

“And then I’ll take you out on the road.”

He had won up to that point. The Mushroom will never allow my Dad to teach her to drive. She nearly killed him when he tried to teach her to make an omelette (“Are you patronising me?”, “No, all I’m saying is that egg shell doesn’t go in an omelette.”, “Don’t frigging patronize me, I know what goes in an omelette.”, “Then why did you ask me to teach you how to make an omelette?”, “Are you patronising me?” etc), and it was a very frightening time the week he tried to be her running coach (“Why did you laugh when I was sick? What’s funny about being sick?”, “Everything’s funny about being sick”, “And why did you have to run up the hill backwards when I was being sick?”, “I was being supportive, by watching you being sick.”, “And laughing.”, “And laughing a bit.”, “I hate you.”, “I know.”), so teaching her to drive, a much bigger thing with many more ramifications than omelets or running, would be a nightmare.

“Or maybe not. Maybe Tracy will.” he added in a moment of wisdom.

I have some serious concerns regarding The Mushroom learning to drive. I am at a loss as to why my Dad is encouraging her.

1. The Mushroom cannot concentrate on more than one thing at any given time. This is probably why she can’t cook. She focuses so hard on one aspect of the meal, let’s say, what’s in the oven (you’d think it wouldn’t need concentration. It doesn’t. You put it in, it cooks, you keep an eye on the time, you take it out. I could do it, if they bought me little kitty oven gloves, and a stool, and some sort of brace for my back so I could take the weight of a baking tray. But The Mushroom seems to believe that the cooking is an act of will, so stares through the glass panel at whatever is in the oven, magicking the meat brown with her eyes) that she entirely forgets to put any water in the pan to steam vegetables, burns the pan and sets off the smoke alarm. As driving seems to require you to concentrate on at least two things (what’s behind you and what’s in front of you, and probably some other things that I am simply unaware as, whenever I’ve been in a car, I’ve never paid that much attention knowing, as I do, that the likelihood of any Ford Dealership ever handing over to me the keys to a vehicle is slim), she’s buggered.

2. The Mushroom is the clumsiest person I know. She has broken her toes, so far, seven times. Six of those times, it was by walking into furniture. Once, it was by dropping a tin of Heinz ‘Big Soup’ on her foot, thus causing a hairline fracture on her big toe. Her phone call to work was brilliant.

“So I won’t be in today, cos I’ve got to go to hospital. Yeah, yeah, no, I’m okay, I’ve broken my toe. My big toe. Yeah, yeah, it does hurt. Erm, well, I dropped something on it. Sorry? Oh, erm, a tin of soup. Heinz Big Soup. [Pause.] Yeah, they are heavy. [Pause.] Yes, yes, must be all the potato chunks.”

3. She has no spatial awareness. At all. See number 2.

Now, if The Mushroom cannot safely negotiate her way around a basement, or round a tin of Heinz ‘Big Soup’, I would hazard a guess getting a 4×4 out of the driveway and onto Route 16 to Lloydminster would be a tad tricky. At least here the roads are straight, I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma she’d go through trying to negotiate a mini-roundabout.

She hasn’t started looking at the theory test yet, anyhoo. She was last seen nibbling a Hershey bar and browsing the Topshop website, mumbling something about jumpers. The roads are Mushroom free for a while yet.

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2 Responses to “Live or Let Drive”

  1. hayley said

    I have all of the same problems as you! Clumsiness, inability to concentrate of absolutely no spatial awareness. It’s not fair, we should be given special licenses due to our disabilities.

    By the way, Ant’s ex girlfriend is shorter than you and I believe she used to drive his Jeep (insert childish sniggering here). So it can be done! xxx

  2. Jane said

    Driving and cooking are, I feel, both things that should be done *for* us, by other people. I have reached the age of 43 and am still totally unable to do the former, and I have an innate fear of the latter. Did mention I love my husband?

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