the rat hole, or the fact that we're moving this weekend (again!) and have to load and unload (again!) all our worldly possessions,* it's not even $8/gallon gasoline. It's driving. The simple act of getting in a car and conveying myself from point A to point B - something I've been doing, even enjoying for over two decades. When I had a convertible, there were few things I relished more than dropping the top, cranking the tunes, and carving up the lanes on a sunny day. Road trips were an adventure - the journey was the destination.
* and by we, I of course mean D. The man is a moving machine.
But now, the car is my nemesis. If had only to learn the rules of British roads, it would be fine. If I had only to learn to shift the transmission with my left hand instead of my right, it would be fine. But the act of trying to do both, it stymies me. The sheer concentration required to ensure that I'm shifting into the right gear and not jamming it into reverse or 2nd rather than 4th whilst monitoring the pertinent traffic approaching the roundabouts. As D reminds me, I have to not only get comfortable on the roads, I have to pass a driving test. So I need to develop good driving habits - not just get by. And now, I question and second guess every little decision. Did I shift up too soon? Shift down too late? Brake too hard? Signal too early? Turn too hastily in front of oncoming traffic? Block traffic for too long waiting to turn? Pull out at the roundabout too aggressively? Too timidly? Push the accelerator too hard to achieve optimum fuel economy? (The car, the tattling little brat, has a computer that reports on my sins in that area.) The required concentration and resulting stress of a journey in the car is enough to make me want to abandon the effort entirely.
For those that have done this before with little concern or effort, my frustration probably sounds trite or silly. "How hard can it be?" these fortunate souls ask, to which I can only answer, "You have no idea."
"Learning to drive" again after two decades of doing it as second nature is bad enough. Not having the ability to jump in the car and just go is so much worse now than it was when I was peering over the precipice of adulthood, chafing at a lack freedom and independence before I'd ever really tasted it.
I need to stone up and just do this already before it develops into a full fledged phobia - but I never dreamt it would be so hard.