Monday Musings. 1/2/16

I passed my driving test last Wednesday. Thank god. At twenty-nine, it was about time. I will now admit that I failed not one but two previous tests. I failed the second one, on a misty Saturday morning, by getting overexcited that I’d passed and staying in the fast lane on the way back to the test centre. I was two minutes from passing which was a downfall so frustrating that I chose to tell nobody about it. Apart from Louise of course — I was great company that afternoon.
 My new glasses certainly played their part in my eventual success. I flew through the eyesight test, reeling out the number plate with assurance and swaggering to the car feeling as though this was it. Seven minors, one millimetre from the kerb in my manoeuvre and a very near major later, I was shaking my examiner’s hand and patting him on the back like we had been mates for years. Job done. The hefty cost to my wallet and emotional well-being a thing of the past.
 After treating my driving instructor to a four pack of room temperature Carling for his efforts (Mr. Generous), I set off on my maiden voyage. I put on a Dr Dre album, wound the windows down and cruised through town, honking at groups of admiring women.
 Okay, that is a lie. I nervously stuttered along the road, stalled on a hill start, failed to give way on a bridge to the chagrin of an elderly woman and a van driver, then finally struggled to park at work, paying so much attention to not grazing my boss’s car that I inadvertently drove, incredibly slowly, into a wall. Fortunately there were no witnesses and the car is fine. My self-esteem? Not fine.
 Things improved over the next couple of days though and I have started to enjoy the freedom of the open road, apart from roundabouts. Roundabouts are still frightening. One thing I need to sort out is what to listen to in the car. I’ve found myself tuning into Nick Grimshaw’s breakfast show on Radio 1 on the work commute. Listening to the crew giddily discuss ‘the bagel situation’ (Grimshaw wanted a full bagel and an excitable woman only wanted half a bagel) for the duration of my commute was a chastening experience. Grimshaw, and most of the Radio 1 team actually, are the type of people who were social secretary at university and had lots of acquaintances but few friends.
 A friend of mine works for the BBC. When he was shown the Radio 1 offices, he was greeted by a pair of twenty-somethings racing each other down the corridor on computer chairs, which is not surprising at all. I imagine they were high fiving one another screaming: ‘This is literally the best thing ever!’
 Regarding my radio options, you are probably thinking — ‘Why don’t you change the station then Andy, you dickhead?’ — which would be a very reasonable question. Any suggestions? Have I hit Radio 4 age?
 On an evening drive to a suburban retail park, (thug life) I decided to address the situation and looked through the CD’s which Louise keeps in her glove compartment. Her collection is an interesting one; Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Delta Goodrem and Ashlee Simpson. A cynic might call her taste a bit samey although Louise would shut these cynics up instantly by showing them ‘Does This Look Infected?’ by Sum 41 (which was misplaced in a Hillary Duff case).
 Among the CD’s, I found a compilation which I had burnt for Louise in the early days of our relationship. The days of burning CD’s seems like a lifetime ago doesn’t it? It was interesting remembering what kind of music the twenty-year-old me listened to. I’ll rephrase that — the kind of music the twenty-year-old me thought would make him seem cool and impress a girl. 
 The CD wildly exaggerated my fondness for UK hip-hop as well as revealing my outgoing personality with dance music tracks by J.U.S.T.I.C.E et al thrown in. I’d also evidenced my sensitive side by ending with ‘Hey there Delilah.’ Nailed it. Well, not really. If I’d known what Louise’s music collection entailed beforehand, I wouldn’t have bothered. A discounted ‘chick flick’ compilation from WHSmith would have done the job.
 Passing my test was the highlight of a good week. I celebrated by gate-crashing a ‘girl’s night out’ with my mother and Louise. This had been planned a while ago and I feel slightly guilty for turning it into a celebration of my belated driving success. 
 Louise and I have started finding our feet in our new community. We introduced ourselves to the guy who runs the newsagent next door, however I didn’t hear when he told me his name so will now never know. You can’t ask again can you? 
 We also went to the local curry house, which was pleasant although run by a sarcastic joker who threatened to derail my good mood. His first gag was to pretend the restaurant was full and we couldn’t come in. I foolishly, it transpired, believed him and turned to leave.
 ‘I’m only messing with you mate.’ he said, not laughing and showed us to our seat in the sparse restaurant.
 When I ordered the keema naan, he asked if I wanted stuffed crust or deep pan. Confused, I stalled.
 “I’m only messing with you mate” he said, again not laughing before turning to Louise. “This guy is too gullible.”
 I’ll get him back one day. I prefer Rajput anyway.
 We are making good progress with the house. Louise and I assembled a flat pack bed without splitting up and we have a sofa on the way — at some point within the next 8–10 days, between 8am and 9pm.
 However, after saving the day last week (, there was a sense of hero to zero with my dad a few days ago. He came round to fit a mirror (he is from the generation where men can actually do things) and thought it a good idea to bring his friend’s dog along. 
 This was not a good idea.
 The hyperactive hound bound in, ran upstairs and pissed all over our bedroom carpet. It’s a nice dog but this attack seemed malicious — why did it have to be the bedroom? As my flustered dad apologized whilst looking for a sponge, there was a knock at the door from our new neighbour.
 “Is this your car?” she asked, pointing to my dad’s car which has an illogically large bike-rack attached to it and was quite clearly blocking her in. My dad went out and moved it up the road to a seemingly better spot. My neighbour on the other side didn’t think so and came out of his house to ask my dad to move his car for the second time in four minutes.

At least the mirror is now proudly hung up in our living room. Unfortunately the remnants of the piss stain on our bedroom carpet are still visible.