Having already given up smoking and drinking, I am somewhat stymied for a resolution this year. What’s a paragon of virtue to do? Well there’s one thing: I mean to get a driving license.
I can drive in theory – and did a theory test to prove it – I just haven’t since I was about twenty. I moved to the middle of town where parking is more aspiration than reality, and came to consider a rake of pints an essential part of my daily diet. A car seemed more a liability than a pleasure. Since my mother became a widow though, driving has changed again – into an irksome necessity, or so it seemed. I was deeply reluctant after all that time away. Who wouldn’t be, looking at the clogged roads of today? Yet the moment I started, I discovered that I still loved it. Even more surprising perhaps, that I could still do it.
It’s a bizarre feeling. Do you ever dream you can fly? I do, but every time it happens I think to myself “Damn – I forgot again! Why do I always forget that I can fly? I should do this all the time.” Well that’s what this was like. Getting into a car seemed like finding an old forgotten superpower. Like riding a bicycle I guess. Only, you know, a stupendously dangerous bicycle.
On the productive side, it’s given me an idea. I have been inspired to create a videogame, though I suppose a lot of the credit must go to the County Council. I will probably need a snappier title for international marketing, but for the time being I’m calling it “Death Village Corrandulla”.
Twice in the last two days I drove through Corrandulla, and the road was unbelievable. The ice seems not to have just cracked and crumbled the surface, but made it explode. There are potholes like shell craters. Getting through alive is a matter of dodging and weaving between the bastards, but inevitably – because the choice will be between this and driving into oncoming traffic – you will hit one with a mighty suspension-bending K-thunk. This is ridiculous.
But I must admit, great fun. You know maybe we went wholly the wrong way over the last decade or so with these hasty road improvements, especially when you consider that a major cause of accident and death is excessive speed. You’ll hear all sorts of reasons why people drive too fast, but the real one is this: Because they can. Give a person a fast car and an open road, nine times out of ten they’ll end up going hell for leather. Why wouldn’t you go fast? Not only is it quite enjoyable to move at speed – people pay to do it in funfairs after all – it also gets you there sooner.
So maybe we should have dug a few more potholes. And built some extra chicane bends too. And a few ramps. And a water jump. That would force people to really slow down and pay attention to the road. It would not only save lives, but also just be a hell of a lot more interesting.
And I guess I have a whole new addiction. Oh well.