With the spectacular talent of losing all spatial awareness upon entering any large shop, I’ve never been inclined to learn how to drive. I’ve had a few lessons out of necessity, but they didn’t go very well. My instructor blocked my side mirrors and wouldn’t let me steer. My other driving experiences include crashing a car into a fence and knocking another driver (off a pushbike) into a canal. I’ll try to learn again this summer, but given my past encounters, I’m really not in any rush.
I also haven’t felt inclined to learn to drive because I love being a passenger. I especially love being a passenger on really long car journeys. Whenever Chris and I travel to Newquay, I probably stay awake for about an hour and a half of the journey, no matter the time of day. I always fall asleep. Car journeys make me extremely content, they make me feel safe. I’m usually travelling with Chris, so the soundtrack is always good. I’m warm, comfortable and next to my favourite person.
I also like being a passenger late at night while it’s raining. They’ve been my favourite kind of journey ever since I was a kid. Heavy with tiredness, there’s no sound, no one has any energy to speak. Instead I just look up at the blurred lights. Traffic lights, street lamps, lights coming from buildings. They’re all man made but they make the city look beautiful. Everything looks different and the lights are captivating. Travelling the recently quietened streets makes everything feel that bit more precious, a bit more private. The deafening rain on the car roof makes me feel quietly insignificant, but in a comforting way. I’m here one minute, I’ll be gone the next.
When I was younger, I loved being pushed around in my pram. I’d take off my socks and shoes, spread out my toes and let the wind whistle around my feet – freedom. I love being a passenger because it’s a passive activity. Someone’s taking you away from one thing and place, to another thing and place. Usually and luckily, I’m always being driven to somewhere and something better. Somewhere that will bring the relief of escapism, even though it is just temporary.
A few days ago, Sunday to be precise, it was the nicest day of the year so far. I was driven to Stratford upon Avon and Henley-in-Arden. It was a gorgeous day of just walking around, just being. The drive was one of my favourite parts; resting my head against the seat, eyes closed, listening to Taking Back Sunday. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that free. For a few hours I stopped carrying around the things that bothered me. It was a sweet respite to know that for a few hours, someone else carried me.