There’s always a certain first you remember; your first day in school, first kiss, first house. They may not always have been the best, but nothing replaces those memories of your first.
One of mine is my first car, a teeny tiny Mini, that bore an uncanny resemblance to the colour of wee. I bloody loved that mini, I cleaned, polished and checked the oil and tyres, sat in it, pretending I was off with my besties to some far-flung surf dude infested beach.
I even drove it once, backwards.
Yep that’s right, backwards. That’s as far as my mini and me ever travelled. You see back at the tender age of 17 I was an awful driver, or learner to be precise and looking back, there was a good reason I should remain always a passenger until my thirties. Car safety wasn’t what it is these days and as much as I longed for the independence of the open road and escapism from my little village, it wasn’t to be, for a while at least and the roads remained a little safer.
I’d got my £100 worth of driving lessons booked (10, yes 10 whole lessons!) and Dad had found me the perfect little car, but after a series of unfortunate events; my instructor changing cars the week before my test, turning up for lessons in para boots so thick I couldn’t feel the pedals and having a complete lack of spacial awareness. I failed, and failed and probably would’ve continued to fail if I hadn’t spent my part-time wage on cider and Silk Cuts. (My priorities were a little off back then.)
And the backwards thing, well it seems my grammar school education didn’t stretch as far as common sense. I decided that I would test drive my little mini on my grandparents drive one Sunday afternoon, only a few lessons in, I brazenly hopped into the driver’s seat, fiddled around with the gear stick, turned on the key, released the handbrake – and shot backwards! Truth be told it scared the living day lights out of me as I panicked, forgetting how to stop the bloody thing while hurtling towards the drop down onto the road.
And now I’m a mum to a teenager, I’ll be seeing my boy experience this epic first. But with a huge lump in my throat, the whole issue of safety is a concern. Will he drink and drive, observe speed limits, check tyre treads and pressure and wear a seat belt? As much as I’ll do the ground work, making sure it’s safe and well maintained – bulbs, tyres (thanks to Point S!) oil, finding best insurance and making sure it’s as safe as it could possibly be, once he’s off and free from my protective arms, it’s all down to him. I can’t deny him this and hopefully his driving will be as awesome as his skateboarding skills.
There is a happy ending to my first car tale though, I finally passed my driving test on an Snowy 21st December in 2009. But that little Mr Bean mini will always hold a special place in my heart. My fondest memories of seeing it sat on the drive, sparkling in the sun.
This is a collaborative post.