August 14: an imaginary driver

If, like me, you are not a driver, you will find the world of the car somewhat baffling. Most conversations between strangers use the car and its discontents as a binding fluid. You know that you belong to the freemasonry of the car. Words like forecourt wafted in from the other room this weekend when we were in a B and B in Devon. Disbelief was shown that our three-day walking holiday in Cornworthy near Totness did not involve an automobile but featured actual walking. We walked five miles with baggage to the B and B; we walked for three miles to the ferry to Dartmouth and after walking round Dartmouth and past its castle to the beach walked the three miles back to bed after dinner in a pub. It was a walking holiday. The walking holidays of the other guests were mostly car holidays. I have never wished to drive a car, though I have always enjoyed driving an imaginary vehicule (I think it is a citroen). I perform an unconvincing pantomime version of the act of driving where I am manipulating an extra large steering wheel and then do something wiggly under the table with my hand to change gears.  I have now adorned this mime with some furtive looks in an imaginary mirror, looking out for overtaking traffic or stray bikes (whilst looking for bikes, look irritated). It has become a complex procedure, this Marcel Marceau version of the act that everyone does. The next addition to my drive mime will be the reverse back down a one-way street where you put your arm along the the upper rim of the passenger seat and look back down the road you just drove up. It looks like a relaxing posture and I look forward to performing it on my next imaginary drive.