Thursday, February 07, 2008
I just drove to Lisy Babe's house and back again (stopping there for a while in between, obviously). This is a Big Deal. It's the furthest I've driven for about five years, at least in London. I can drive a long way in Ireland (where 'driving' tends to translate 'sitting behind a tractor for five hours on the one-lane road between two major cities'), and to lesser extent in the New Forest, where I've done most of my driving. London driving scares me a lot. I'm not a bad driver - hesitant, but safe. I'm a really, hugely anxious driver though. This is mainly because I get lost, frequently, because I'm so dyspraxic.
To explain: I can't easily see directions, roads, landmarks in my head. I can see some of these, but there will be big 'gaps', and in those gaps will be where I get lost. I can only 'feel' them. I'll know, eventually, that I'm not on the right street, but only because it won't feel right. Maps are even worse. When The Girl first met me, she made the rather stupid mistake, a few times, of asking me to navigate while she drove. After many temper tantrums, a lot of near-violent arguments and several death threats, she's stopped doing that now. One cure for this is to try to work with my brain, not against it. I think visually, but I access those visuals linguistically. Written directions - detailed - on the dashboard used to work for me. Leave Hatch Road by turning right onto River Street just before the pub. Continue past 1, 2, 3 side roads on the right and a cafe. Cross two sets of traffic lights. Then turn left immediately after Barclays bank. The only problem with this being that the directions have to be so detailed, I tend to stop looking at the actual road...
I also can't drive if someone else is in the car with me - can't see that ever changing - since my driving nerves are a lot worse if I feel judged or watched. On my own I can get lost four or five times and it's not major. The Girl will attest to how I constantly SCREAM at her if I get lost, or even just get jumpy, while I'm driving with her next to me.
So, yes, only a five minute drive (for most people - clearly it's fifteen minutes if you allow for getting lost at least once in each direction, but I factored that in), but still quite a triumph. I should set my next goal. If I can get myself to church - a drive of at least fifteen minutes including a very scary four-lane interchange - then my social life will improve massively and I will feel a lot more independent (and less reliant on the rubbish limited service of Taxicard cabs, and not quite so much left at the mercy of ignorant bus drivers with appallingly designed ramps).
Lisy and I watched the weirdest film ever. It was Korean. Really quite disturbing, although oddly entertaining too. I think I missed a lot due to conventions that I just didn't understand. Parts of it made absolutely no sense.