Driving lessons and fatigue

Lizzie and Dean got me back on the road pretty sharply but I was in no state to drive anywhere right away this morning.


I ran the engine for a good fifteen minutes to charge the battery and then paid for four hours parking and went back to bed. Some sort of a malaise, I’m calling it. I was sapped of all energy and couldn’t do anything other than sleep. I could barely even think.

I was still pretty ropey when I hauled myself out of the flat and wandered down to move the car at lunchtime. Hopefully it’s one off, and likely it’s brought on by the fact that last night and the night before I haven’t been so careful about what I’ve been consuming. Clearly I need to stick with some of the changes I’ve been trying to make in terms of diet and consumption. Dammit I’m not 24 anymore. And the work in the woods needs to drip through into the day to day.

Today I was moonlighting as a driving instructor so I had to be reasonably clear headed. By the time I’d hauled the Nissan across town the cobwebs were blown though. It requires reasonably active driving, as the brake is as loose as the clutch and at low rev it sounds like it’s trying to throw the exhaust off.

It’s useful not caring about the car though, to teach in it. I wasn’t flinching when my pupil ground the clutch or repeatedly stalled it.

I’ve been taking Tristan through the basics, God help us all, much as my dad did with me forever ago in The Isle of Man. Stuff that it’s worth getting into your body before you’re paying some dude through the nose for it.

Observation. Start it. Move it. Stop it. Do it again. All without stalling. That’s the theory at least. Useful for me to break down something learnt and put into my body such a long time ago. Interesting to try and explain something almost totally instinctive in terms of the mechanics. I found myself second guessing myself about the order in which things should be done. And all of it strung together with necessary reminders to keep looking around and into your mirrors ostentatiously. Not being a dad won’t stop me doing the dad stuff, it seems. Knowing what the tree is, making bad jokes, not being able to drink as much as I used to and …  teaching the little fucker to drive. Only in this case the little fucker is only a few years younger than me and definitely not my son. With his aryan features people would be whispering behind my back.

You’re never too old to learn new tricks. It seems Tristan might be on the road eventually…

I’m in Richmond with him post driving lesson. It actually worked. I tried to teach a girlfriend to ski and it was a fucking disaster as I can’t remember not being able to do it. I can remember learning to drive, with dad being ultra patient, primarily because he loved cars. Those weird driving lessons in the driveway at Eyreton, and the endless hill starts on the back road heading up to Ballabrooie Drive when dad had less than a year to live… They have become powerful memories. He’s been dead for half my life now. But it seems I can be patient and calm when there’s a liability in the driving seat anyway, like he could.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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