Thursday, 24 March 2011


 Ever since I passed my driving test, I've got lost many times as well as cried in many car parks because I couldn't find a space that has at least five free either side so I can get in it without crashing. Thankfully, my mum has alway been on hand to get me into or out of spaces, or there has always been a friend that can get out and guide me around a bollard at a McDonald’s drive-thru, so no crashes just yet. Touch wood. I feel very lucky that my mum invested in a Sat-Nav a while ago so whenever I am on my own and unbelievably lost I can just plug the woman in and if she is feeling in a good mood she finds exactly where I am and how I can get home. However, because my mum bought a cheap one, sometimes the woman gets mardy and she coincidentally has an ‘ERROR LOADING MAPS’. Me and my Mum had this problem in Brighton and we think it was because we left her in the glove compartment whilst we went for a Chinese, and so she was getting her own back. I’m sure machines don’t quite have the ability to think things through like that, but you try explaining to the man at Curry’s why, whenever we ignore her and turn left instead of right, she seems to become a little bitchy.

But I was in the shower this morning and I started wondering if we could have a Sat-Nav for our journeys in life. Like, what if we could program in where we wanted to end up and it would take us there, so that we knew we were on the right track? You see, if we had a Life-Nav, we could program in little detours and landmarks we wanted to stop at along the way. That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

I’m sure I won’t be alone in saying that sometimes I feel a little lost in life, like I’m kind of driving along the motorway looking for a junction that seems appealing, sounds familiar, or seems close to where I want to get to. Do you ever feel like you're driving at what you think is the appropriate pace, yet everyone else is speeding right past you? Or even the other way around; you're driving so fast you're leaving everyone behind? And you find that even when you're driving along at the right speed, someone will come along and cut you up, making your heart race or making you really angry, and then you will spend the next leg of your journey thinking about it, distracting you from the real things you should be concentrating on.

There are people and things in life that are put there as obstacles. Imagine you're driving along at full speed and you were to hit a pothole that you didn’t see coming. It would certainly shake you up, and may even cause some damage to the car that may take time and money to fix. What if that pothole was a boy? Metaphorically speaking. What if you were going so fast in a relationship that you couldn’t see what was coming? What if that pothole you hit symbolised a broken heart? Making you feel stupid for not seeing the signs and the people frantically waving their arms to tell you to slow down, because they saw what was coming before you did.

Junctions in life can sometimes be the trickiest. Do you turn left or right? If you know where you are going, it's fine, but what if you were to get to the junction and have no idea of the direction you were meant to be heading in? Also, what's worse is that there may be cars piling up behind you, pipping and revving their engines causing you to take the wrong direction - people who got so frustrated that you couldn’t make up your mind about what you what you wanted to do in life that they pressured you into something you weren’t completely happy with. What if you know where you want to be going, yet you can’t seem to be able to pull out, and no one is being kind enough to let you out? Well, as my Driving Instructor used to tell me, you sometimes need to push your way out, and be a little Meerkat... (Anyone who had Andy Nightingale, the best driving instructor ever, you will understand what I mean).

Then there are the corners in life, those ones that are so tight that they have to have a sign, saying ‘SLOW’. Picture if that was a corner you were taking in life, a corner that you couldn’t see round, yet you were driving at full pelt around it after ignoring everyone's advice to reduce your speed. How about if you were halfway round that corner and in the middle of the road there was a fallen tree and you didn’t have time to stop? What if you hadn’t been so stubborn and you had listened to everyone's warnings and taken the corner with a little more precaution. You would have been able to stop, and things would of turned out differently.

What about those people on the side of the road? People that will walk into the road unexpectedly, or pedestrian crossings and traffic lights; all things that cause you step on the brakes and stop for a little while. People may even throw things at your car that may smash the windscreen meaning you cannot see the road ahead. Coming across these inconveniences are facts of life, in the literal as well as metaphorical sense. But look on the bright side, you may end up with Gavin from Auto Glass replacing your window. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that!

Then there’s the illnesses you experience. It may only be a blown light bulb, or little scratch on the passenger side, or a dint in the bonnet caused by a trolley in Sainsbury’s. These may be relatively cheap, easy and quick to fix with a visit to the garage. Or a packet of Soothers and a magazine or a Disney princess plaster over your elbow. But what if its something more serious, something caused in a crash or by something somehow becoming unconnected? A broken leg perhaps, or a burst appendix? These take longer to fix, leaving behind visible scars, causing the car or person problems in the future. Maybe like me, even a year of after being in hospital for a month and having many complications with Peritonitis, you are still having to go back to hospital to see specialists and to have an MRI Scan. (I am fine, don’t worry. However I have no idea why I have to have an MRI, the doctor said some big words and then said I needed an MRI, so I just nodded).

However what happens when there is something wrong with the engine, the heart of the car? You see, affairs of the heart cannot always be seen from the exterior. A broken heart takes time to heal, probably more so than an engine. A lot of delicate work needs to be accomplished and sometimes no matter how many people work on fixing that engine, it can take just one person to get it working again, just like with the heart. Many boys may come along and try to fix your heart, but sometimes it takes just one. One person who has that extra skill or steady hand and patience to really understand how you work.

I have always thought that we all go too fast in life. We are so conscious of getting to where we want to be quickly that we forget to take in the view. Sometimes so fast that we manage to get lost. So lost in fact, that we have no idea where we are, and we drive round in circles trying to find a road that seems familiar, or a sign that tells us the direction in which we should be heading. The fact is that by doing this you may eventually find yourself back on the right track, but really you are just making yourself even more lost, and you are wasting time and energy. Eventually you are going to burn out.

There is no shame in pulling over for a while and finding the map out from your boot, or asking a passer by where the hell you are. Sometimes these strangers offer you the best advice, just like an old man I was talking to the other day, they often have experience and wisdom to pass onto you. And if you happen to be as lucky as I was, that old man may just have the ability the reassure your faith in Love.

Live. Laugh. Love

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