Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Anyway, this column today is not about officials failing to realise that I held only a provisional licence for more than seven years and for three of those years this document was not valid (I have since renewed my licence, by the way, so if there’s a copper reading this, I’m all right now). What I would like to write about today is my love of driving.
|But what if it's expired?|
I used to write a section called Road Songs years ago when I first started blogging. It was a way of romanticising what I saw as the “art of driving”. Unlike other people my early childhood perceptions were not shaped in the back of a car, but in the middle of a crowded bus in downtown Havana. So, recreational driving was not a part of my upbringing.
That is why as soon as I learnt how to drive and got my licence I became the weekend driver in the family (except for my daughter’s last two years in primary school when I used to do the school run every day). Weekend driving is different to its weekday counterpart. You don’t go somewhere because you have to clock in and out. You go places because it is a pleasure.
Road Songs was never about melodies that mentioned motorways and cul-de-sacs. As a section I wanted it to encompass the feeling that driving awakened in me. The beauty of a bend on the road, the exhilaration of letting the wheel slip through my fingers as I turned it, the art of braking. All these aspects of driving were included in this short-lived section. For all blogposts I sought clips that somehow encapsulated my feelings about being in control of car.
Whilst writing this section I came to the conclusion that perhaps my only gripe when it comes to driving in Britain, if gripe is the right word, is that the UK doesn’t boast iconic roads. Yes, we all know about the M25, but is it the same as Route 66 in the US? And would a motorway running from Scotland to south-eastern England inspire a Dylan-like British singer songwriter in the same way Route 61 inspired Bob to write Highway 61?
That doesn’t mean there’s no poetry in driving. There is, because the car symbolises freedom, if not, ask Bruce Springsteen who has made a whole musical career out of it. Even the shortest car journey has a certain sense of leave-taking about it. You are going somewhere and leaving something or someone behind. Even if it is for eight hours. Then, there’s also the interaction with the machine. The process of learning how to listen to your car’s engine, how to recognise its moans and complaints. That is why Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer, wrote I am in Love with my Car, because he fell for his motor’s carburettor.
Yes, this column is a bit of a contradiction today. I am on two wheels five days a week. I can’t praise my bike enough. Especially because being a rusty, second-hand one, it’s gone beyond its sell-by and use-by date and it's still going, carrying me on its saddle. Yet, as soon as the weekend arrives I can’t wait to get inside my four-wheeler. The episode with my (ex) driving licence made it clear. I’m in love with my car. Even if I might not have the valid documentation with me sometimes.
Next Post: “Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum”, to be published on Wednesday 25th June at 11:59pm (GMT)