Driving Round Bends…

Boabie passed his driving test in August of this year. 30+ years after he was of age and following six failed driving tests…

His pass has affected the household in many unanticipated ways. Not least – and I am squirming a bit when I admit this – the balance of power in our relationship has undergone a bit of a stress test.

I gave up pushing him into a car many many years ago. His excuses were ingenious. Some of them just plain low

He didn’t want to add to global-warming apparently. He would do the green thing and take public transport. He would learn when his job needed him to. He would phone a driving school on Monday. He had forgotten to phone the driving school because a dog had eaten his homework… but the piece de resistance and maybe the most memorable (for me) was after the birth of our 2nd child – a birth which followed a high-speed dash to the hospital with my Dadwhen Boabie said I promise, if you are ever pregnant again I will pass my driving test.

The youngest of our five was 8yrs and 5 months old back in August…

Who would have thought then, that a much awaited ability to drive could cause such change?

After years ensuring that he was employed only by urban schools situated on a main train line, he was promoted to Head Teacher (Principal) of a rural High School in September. He jingles my car keys when he is not stealing my car. He makes observations about my driving – I would change gear here, I would slowdown a bit on this bend and just accelerate out – that type of thing. He disappears to the supermarket just for the thrill of driving the mile and a half it takes to get there and is first to volunteer to take the lad to work – even when it means getting out of his bed on a Saturday morning and before 7am… He has become an elderly boy-racer…a Scottish Jeremy Clarkson… and I fear opening the door one day to find my car has sprouted some go-faster racing stripes and a rear spoiler with wings…

So far, so good I imagine many might say – you get off with the mundane driving and get to vegetate at home. But I was the driver. Driving is me! 

For the last 27 years I have held the keys. My wedding vows might just as well have been prefixed I will drive Because oh! how and where I have driven! The Pyrenees from St Jean de Luz to Pamplona. Bilboa, Santander, Madrid, Barcelona, Cartagena, London. Cyprus. Malta. France – including the bloody awful Paris. Maybe worst of all – Milan…

And all that time Boabies disinterest was infamous. He was renowned within the extended family as the man who was driven by his wife. He wore the badge of carless-ness proudly. Taunted others with a so what-ness that made me proud. 

This, I think, is how the mighty are fallen…

7 thoughts on “Driving Round Bends…

  1. You know good and well that when it comes to relations between Men and Women…the scales of power are rigged.

    Don't begrudge us our small victories. 🙂

    You are the only person from the UK that I've talked to who has a relationship with their car that I recognize. I can't tell you how rare it is, where I'm from, that a person over 16 would not be driving.

    Obviously, it's just a totally different set of circumstances but flips me out every time I read a story like this.

  2. I have been driving for nearly 30 yrs e.f. – I spent my formative years under a bonnet tinkering with engines and sub-frames cos my Dad never had a car that could go more than 50 miles without breaking down…and I loved it. My cars have all spoken to me. I know their quirks and when they are sounding rough. I've replaced CV joints and Mini sub-frames. I love cars. Imagine my horror when this aged newbie driver muscles in on MY car!!! And stalls it more times than I can mention!!! Argh!!

  3. It's the back seat driving that I couldn't take.

    You sound a lot more handy with them than I am. I love the idea of the car..being able to go, conquering time and space…but the object itself can be maddening. When you drive 1200 miles a week they need a lot of attention.

    I'll be sure to pop over and report any odd pops or bangs I'm havin.

  4. I'm used to ladies who can mend cars – I have stories involving Friend Who Knows Too Much – and it is, I confess, a long time since I changed an engine or re-conditioned a gearbox. However the idea of not being able to drive is totally alien to me. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's anathema. However I have to say, too, that I do have male friends who do not and never have driven nor wanted to drive. Apart from that they are mostly quite normal!

  5. I love this post. I love stories which dissect the power relations between women and men. And this is such a great role reversal tale that is now changing and shifting. Brilliant.

  6. It is funny Chloe – he is actually aware that I feel unsettled by his muscling in on what was my car. And defers to me when we go out as a family…
    I drive the new 7 seater now (a very dull uninspiring 1.5 diesel eco car with integral satnav and seat sensors and hairdryer engine…only thing missing is the coffee-maker!!).
    Thing is R isn't a driver. Hasn't a driving bone in his body. He is a passenger who happens to be sitting in the wrong seat…lol And he knows it. He managed to drive miles with a flat tyre on Friday – ripped the bloomin thing to shreds – and his comment was “I thought it felt different”…
    In truth we have spent too many years with me as the driver for me to be anything else but the main or primary driver now.
    Funny the things which cause wobbles in a relationship!

  7. I think change causes wobbles in a relationship.

    Three months ago I moved in with Max. Big step. We had a way of being together when we were living apart and all this changed when we were under the same roof. Major adjustments required from us both. I thought I could write about it but have not yet been able to as am still finding it all so confusing.

    I think you are definitely the driver in the family! x

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