Marisa Mackle: Watch out, I’m back in the driving seat
I've just bought a new car. I can't drive it yet. Well, not unless I have a proper driver in the car with me, but still, I'm excited. It's not my first car.
No, I actually had an old car years ago. I bought it off a work colleague from Cork. The reg number was very handy when I broke down, which happened quite a bit, because people would shout at me 'eff off back to Cork!' or something even ruder. Still I preferred being thought of as a lost Cork tourist than a Dublin 4 chick who wasn't a very good driver.
I had a few hairy moments in that car, such as when I broke down on Leeson Street bridge during rush-hour traffic. I remember breaking into a sweat as cars all around me beeped and people shouted things like 'you mad Cork woman!'
Then, of course, I remember that time driving a group of people home from a nightclub. I didn't even know who they were exactly but my friend had carelessly offered them a lift home in my car. Now I know how difficult taxi drivers have it. There really is nothing worse than somebody drunk telling you to 'pump up the volume' to the back of your sober head as you try not to skid on a dark, icy road.
I wanted to get my licence so I applied for my test. I paid for 40 lessons out of my own hard-earned money and so I thought passing the test would be an absolute breeze.
Somebody had told me that it was easier to pass your test down the country as they aren't as strict down there apparently. Well, it was just my luck that I got a narky Dub when I did my test. He wasn't a bit friendly. In fact I'm sure his face would have cracked if he had tried to manage a smile. Afterwards, when he gave me my result -- a big, fat fail -- he advised to me to take a few lessons. A few more? More than 40?
Anyway, the experience really put me off driving. So I decided not to bother for a while. I live very close to town with everything on my doorstep so I didn't see the point in having a car for the past few years. When I was pregnant, people said to me that I should re-take my test because they're less likely to fail anyone with a big bump in front of them. But I didn't. Then when my son was a baby they said to sit the test with the babyseat in the car. I still didn't. But now things are different. My son is growing up and I need to drive. Yes, I too, will be a taxi mummy going to football, swimming and parties on a Saturday afternoon.
I have my theory test booked for next week, I am relearning the rules of the road, and hopefully when I sit my real test in six months' time, I'll get a nice, calm person who isn't having a bad day.