I have to be a little careful in discussing this, for reasons which are self-evident, but I really think that legislation is overdue that states you may be in possession of either a car or a penis, but not both. And certainly not at the same time. A penis in a car is never a good thing. Well, it depends on your preferences, I suppose, but from a strict road safety standpoint, I’d shy away from penises in cars. Unless those cars are being driven by someone with a vagina. A woman, perhaps.
In all honesty, men really need to stop driving. Okay? That’s it. Put down your keys, brothers. None of this noise and smell and aggression and danger and cost and swearing and bad radio is worth it. We are just not suited to the craft of driving automobiles. We have tried for decades to get to an emotional space where driving a car doesn’t turn us into enormous planks, but sadly it seems that being in control of a car makes men behave in a far worse fashion than when they are walking. Or varnishing a sideboard. Or eating Pringles.
Driving reduces us. It gives us jutting edges, awkward angles and shorter fuses. If you look at the situation rationally, we’re not as suited to driving as women. We tried, but it’s just not to be.
Granted, we are extremely good at it when it comes to competitive driving (and by that I mean the kind of driving where your overalls and helmet are covered with sponsors’ logos, not the kind which happens during the school run when you would rather die than let that effing BMW into my LANE! There’s no right turn, you A***!”).
Put us on a race track, where all the cars are going the one way; where there’s no room in the car for a sim-card, never mind a mobile phone; where there are no traffic lights or yellow boxes or lollipop ladies; put us in that environment and we are kings, so much so that they crown us with leaves and let us spray champagne in the air.
That is not to suggest, of course, that women aren’t every bit as adept as men at race-car driving. But they have the added bonus of being far more suited to regular-people driving. As all-round motorists, women take it every time.
And the reason I mention any of this is that it is all very close to home. When I drive my car, I’m not as well-balanced as the man I am when I am riding my motor scooter - and I mean that spiritually, rather than paradoxically. I am quicker to anger and more impatient and they are traits of which I am utterly sick. As is my wife. So I am really trying to calm the hell down and let it all wash over me.
However, even in the midst of my Honda Zen composure when I am riding my bike, there are moments of madness. Like last night, for instance. I was riding home from working at the paper. It was about 11pm. I was some five minutes from home when this huge and very sleek car overtook me illegally on the inside, travelling at, oh, around a thousand miles an hour. Maybe twelve hundred.
My eyes went funny and green flesh began to appear from beneath my ripping clothes, as the raging spirit which dwells within me began to wake and wonder why he had such a desire to PUNCH something! I squeezed the throttle and began my pursuit, logic shaking his head sadly and making for the door, with reason a pace behind.
At the next set of lights, our anti-hero was sitting on the front row. I pulled alongside and had a look to see how big and tough he was and if it would be prudent to call him a tit. On this occasion, that would be no, as he looked a bit like James Gandolfini. The south London remix. He may even have had a crocodile in his boot. I impassively looked away and sat there, waiting for the green.
The lights changed and I rode off, but he quickly undertook me again and took the lead in our nonsensical race, until he reached more traffic. I passed him again and he then began tailgating me, flashing his headlights and trying to force me into the oncoming lane. This went on for a minute or so and I was beginning to contemplate actually shitting myself, but I managed to sneak in between two cars in front of him where he couldn’t get at me.
I was soon home and, as I turned into the drive, he sped past, glaring at me and making “you play with your own willy” gestures, clearly massively irate.
I stood next to my bike and watched him roar off and then make the jump to light speed. Via Bexleyheath.
I again drew a weary breath and cursed my temper. Yes, he had been a knob. But why had I sped after him and eyeballed him at the lights? Who am I… the Scooter Avenger? Here to right wrongs?
Actually, that might be an idea. I think London needs a champion to patrol the capital and be a force for good. All I need is a costume. What do you think… cape? No cape? What about colours? And a logo. Something to be projected onto the sky at night. If you have any ideas, do a sketch of how you think I would look on one side of a sheet of A4 paper and send it to the usual Blue Peter address. Sorry, but we can’t return your drawings.
On second thoughts, the superhero hasn’t been born that could make men better drivers. Sadly, the die is cast.