There’s something about getting in a car that turns even the most mild mannered person into a force to be reckoned with. Currently there is an advert on the local radio station that advocates us to get cheaper car insurance if you ‘Drive like a Girl’. This is apparently achieved through a monitoring process with the use of a little box in the car and at the end of a certain period it is then determined whether or not you qualify. I think the overall idea through intensive research into accident stats and so forth, that there is some proof that the female driver is safer than the male driver, and that therefore Womanhood should not be penalized financially for Mankind's need for speed.
Now this is a bit alarming to me on a lot of fronts. What if I didn’t pass the ‘Drive like a Girl’ challenge then what would that mean? That I am a man? Not that I am a particularly unsafe driver, or even a fast driver. In fact I am a pathetic go karter – the boys all cheer as they get out of theirs and Mum is still serenely mooching round the last lap. There was a time in my youth that I did have a number of points on my licence, and I have had to pay a few speeding fines in my life. But the advent of kids does naturally make you a more aware driver.
But I’m pretty damned sure they haven’t surveyed the mummies from Hampshire and Surrey, or indeed any busy mummies at all – after all, how on earth would you get the last parking space in the crowded school car park, or muscle your way into the traffic jam outside school in order to get little Jonny to his footie club, by being girlie? How would you manage to feed three kids in the car on the way to said club whilst negotiating several roundabouts and pulling in to the shops to get a drink because you had forgotten to bring one because you were rushing to get away from work so that you didn’t have to rush to the football club, but it didn’t matter because you are running late now anyway. In fact, if I had an annoying little box in my car, I would have ripped it out by now and thrown it out of the window in a very unladylike fashion. (Rather like the fate of the digital box that we had for a while in the kitchen that kept telling us how much energy we were using every time we switched the kettle on. Once G turned off the heating to save energy, it was just a matter of waving goodbye to the bleeping flashing bit of kit as it travelled off in the bin lorry).
There is nothing worse than a good bit of road rage. This morning I was trying to join a dual carriageway from a slip road on the way to school. Cars were backed up on the slip road, and there was obviously a problem somewhere in the tarmac future, but nothing that we could see. It was 8.00 in the morning, people sat bleary eyed in their cars, and Lisa Snowden and Dave Berry kept us all amused on Capital FM as we waited, the cars on the carriageway taking turns to let one in front of them from the slip road and it was all going steadily in a true British polite fortitude, until it came to my turn.
In true driving school fashion I indicated right to pull into the lane. The car in front of me on the slip road was let in by the man in front of me on the carriageway. I attempted to go behind the car on the carriageway, but the man (and yes, it was a man) behind that car on the carriageway was having none of it and barged through into the gap gesticulating wildly (much to the fascination of the boys). I had to brake suddenly. All the cars in that lane on the carriageway braked suddenly. A most UnBritish thing had just occurred! The man, perhaps realizing the error of his ways, then let in a silver car who had ventured further up the slip road in the melee, as I was offered a place in the lane by the man behind him.
Middle Son looked at me, waiting for the inevitable explosion. I looked at him. I thought, No, I’m going to Drive like a Girl… and so I simply said very sweetly to the back of the man’s head. ‘Thank you very much, I hope you have a horrid morning,’ and I pulled into the fast lane and over took him.
As I looked in the rearview mirror, I noticed that he had been boxed in by the traffic, and the car he had let in front of him was going extremely slowly, and so he began gesticulating again. I smiled to myself (in a very girlie and charming fashion of course).
Drive like a Snail box anyone?