Driving days 4 & 5 — getting into the swing of this driving lark

I’ve got my commute to work down to 22 minutes — is that an improvement on 1 h 30 m? I think so. I’d a low C in GCSE Maths but even I can math-out some sort of saving here. Also, I’ve learnt time telling so I can see it, too.

To say it has improved my attitude towards work is an understatement. No more an intrusive commitment now merely the hours I work plus a little bit either side. No more an addition of 37.5% on my work day. Now a mere 12%. We’re talking approvable statistics here. We’re talking the difference between a natural willingness or a forced willingness to work. I get to start a half-hour earlier because I can get there quicker and earlier, and this means that I get to finish at 4! OMG! That’s practically a half-day since that hour to 5 is the longest.

Today, because Friday’s are half-days, I finished at 1pm, left around 1:10 and was home just after the half hour. Had this been in the pre-driving days, I would’ve finished at 1:30 and not been home until maybe just before 3.

I’ve said the exact same thing 3 different ways over 3 paragraphs because it needs to be noted.

For the first time in my life, the commute to and from work is at my own convenience. No more at the convenience of a train service.

I’m getting to grips with my pedal control — I’m not bouncing down the street as much now, which is great and less embarrassing.

Parking, still not got it — reversing I’ve got, I know my length but can’t seem to translate that into an actual bay. I’m talking parallel parking, mainly, which is the type I haven’t yet tried. I am basically putting myself down for something I haven’t yet done but I’m alright with this because, baby steps. One thing at a time. I’ve conquered a lot over these 5 days. The satisfaction of my landlord can wait a bit.

Oh, backstory! …

Basically, outside my flat, which is a converted house, there’s a nice big forecourt with room enough for 3 cars, allowing easy access to the road for each. But up to 5 cars can fit on this forecourt with room enough for a motorbike. My landlord, who lives underneath me, told me all the time I was learning to drive that I couldn’t park on this forecourt. It’s reserved for his car and his missus’ car only. Well, since getting my Polo on Monday I have been parking on this forecourt under the guise of ‘I can’t park’, which isn’t a lie. I’ve just not tried every which way yet. I can park on this forecourt, I’ve said, because I’ve lived here 10 years and it’s where I pretty much ended my every lesson.

To be honest, I quite like the convenience. Also, the thought of walking some unknown distance to get to my car, because Southsea is a nightmare to park in, doesn’t quite appeal to me. My thought and aim is to promote a little inconvenience felt on his behalf, this inconvenience being he has to walk around my car, to urge out of him his “you can’t park here” bit so I can ask him “why?” I didn’t think to find out before because I didn’t have a car and it didn’t concern me. Now I do have a car, I’m ‘concerned’. I’m concerned that I’m going to lose my convenience. I think his issue with this parking on the forecourt business relates to money. I don’t pay for the use of it in my rent so ergo, problem. Now, a parking permit is £30 a year but runs the risk of a 20 min walk. Forecourt parking is an unknown amount per month but with the potential of great convenience. I’m easily swayed by convenience.

I suppose, what I’m trying to say is that whether or not I’m able to park on the street, I ain’t budging. If I have to budge then I’m moving. I didn’t buy a car so I can walk.

Meanwhile, I’ll be practising my parking but will remain officially unable to park until this conversation is forced. I ain’t bringing it up because that’s just silly. I’ve already had one conversation with him that I ballsed up — I’m aiming to be out by the weekend, I said! I’m a fucking idiot. So I’m unyielding on my inability to park. I will put myself down. I will chastise myself until I cry, all so I can get what I want.

Convenience.

It’s all about my convenience.

And to think, some people have thought me shallow.

I know! Me?! The shock of it.

I’ve got myself a sat-nav, it arrived today. “Why not use your phone?” People have asked. Well, my phone is a pile of shite. iPhone 5 and I’m lucky to get a day’s worth of battery on low power mode. I’m even luckier if I get signal. So no. The last update when Apple killed my battery was the final straw. Fuck you. I’ve got a sat-nav. It’ll tell me speed limits and give me live traffic updates, which is a hell of a lot more than my phone.

I’ve also treated myself to some parking mirrors. Although I’m all ‘convenience’ up above, I really can’t park. I abandon it. Yesterday, the people in work sacrificed their cars so I could practice some reverse parking at lunch. When I say ‘people’ I mean one person. One car owner sacrificed their car, the other did it unknowingly. I parked with no issue but the ‘bay’ was around 15 foot wide.

My final treat was a cassette adapter for my MP3 Player. I also purchased an MP3 Player to fit the adapter, but that’s was just so the first purchase made sense. I’ve learnt that the radio is shit. It’s a lot of talking bullshit, especially on the only channel I seem to get clearly, which is BBC Radio 2. I want my own tunes — but then how do I find new songs? Whatever. This purchase is what has happened.

Next week, I’ve planned a trip to Wales. It’s one of those ‘subject to change’ plans but it’s a plan nevertheless.

This weekend, meaning tomorrow, I’m heading to Brighton for lunch. I will also buy a hardcopy map, so at least I come back with more than just a filling colon. It’s going to be just me, myself, and my unnamed Polo. Oh, and my tunes and sat-nav.

I do quite like driving. The worst thing about it is other people.

In other news, firemen are currently outside:

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Jealous?

Tomos James