Adult learner

The Guardian - Weekend - - Front | Tim & Coco - Coco Khan

Les­son 51: road rage Where’s a fan­fare when you need one? Or, bet­ter still, a town crier, be­cause I have reached my big­gest adult mile­stone yet: “Hear ye, hear ye! I have earned my one-year no-claims dis­count.”

It’s been a year since I passed my driv­ing test and I’ve man­aged to sur­vive with­out ma­jor in­ci­dent. It’s noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle, given my driv­ing and the na­ture of Bri­tain’s roads, which serve as both cru­cial in­fra­struc­ture and a free fo­rum for act­ing out anger-re­lated dys­func­tion.

To drive is to travel through a play­ground of dis­pro­por­tion­ate rage. I once saw a man be­come so irate at the car in front for fail­ing to in­di­cate that he lobbed a packet of bis­cuits at it, scream­ing: “I should break your neck!”

A mixed mes­sage, the threat of death and the of­fer of bis­cuits. Where, I won­der, did that man go next? Did he slot back into his reg­u­lar life? Would a cam­era have fol­lowed him as he drove to his job, slipped on some scrubs and then (sur­prise!) went to work as a sur­geon? To think that one day my life might be saved by a Hob­nob flinger.

Even the most mild-man­nered suc­cumb to road rage. I see it in my own gen­tle part­ner. Faced by a mi­nor ir­ri­tant – some­one driv­ing slightly too slowly or, even worse, a con­sid­er­ate driver who lets other cars out – the meta­mor­pho­sis be­gins. Knuck­les whiten on the wheel, cheeks red­den, his lips ready to ex­plode.

“Imag­ine if I just ran that car off the road,” he’ll say. “It would be so good.” And I nod and smile, but shud­der. Still, I sur­vived my first year. You might even say I ex­celled at it. Most adult mile­stones – home own­er­ship, par­ent­hood, par fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity st – seem im­pos­si­ble to t me. But this model of adult­hood, a where you’re re­warded re by virtue of not screw­ing sc up? Now, that I can get ge be­hind.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.