Not having a driving licence at the age of 61 is almost like being a 61 year old virgin, I suppose - there's definitely potential for embarrassment in either condition.
The big difference is that it's taking an awful lot longer to do something about the former than I imagine it would take to sort out the latter..!
By which I mean that - at my current rate of one driving lesson a week - a test pass seems a very, very long way off.
But I have grudgingly to accept that two hours a week is probably the right pace for me.
I'd initially planned (and paid) for a semi-intensive course, on the basis that - because I'm not in a position to consolidate learned behaviours informally by driving outside of the lessons - I was worried that I would forget what I'd learned from one week to the next; or that at best it would take longer to get the manoeuvres into my muscle memory.
I was therefore extremely bent out of shape when the driving school announced - with no negotiation - that because of the amount of pent-up demand for lessons and tests caused by the Pandemic, it was only possible to arrange a single two hour lesson a week.
But as it turned out, maybe this has been for the best. My concern about taking longer to consolidate what I'd learned has had a ring of truth to it; but on the other hand, more than one lesson a week (initially at least) would probably fry my brain.
So I'm going to crack on with two hours a week for a bit longer, and the instructor (who doesn't work for the school - he's sub-contracted to them at a local level) is going to give me first refusal on any cancellations in his schedule - this feels like a pretty good compromise, and the more things come together in the agreed regime, the better-equipped I'll be to take on more lessons.
The downside to this is that the more short-notice lessons I take on, the quicker I'll blow through my 35 hour booking.
As things stand, my course is timed so that my last lesson includes my test booking in early June. Obviously, if I get through my hours quickly, there will be a gap - potentially of several weeks - between my last lesson and my test, and that's not something I want at all.
Fortunately, my instructor has agreed to look at the situation a month before the test, and one way or another he's assured me that if I need more hours - either to fill in the gap and stay sharp; or simply because I'm not quite ready yet (a possibility I'm perfectly relaxed about) - we'll work something out.
So that's good...
As to the lessons themselves, it's amazing - or depressing, depending on your point of view - how such apparently simple (looking) things can be a real challenge. It has, for example, taken me the best part of two lessons just to more or less grasp pulling up and stopping on the left..!
I'm hopeful that some behaviours - those that are more about judgement and risk awareness, and less about muscle memory (things like negotiating roundabouts, for example) - will come to me quickly, as I've done that kind of thing for years as a cyclist: if I can deal with roundabouts on a pushbike, I can deal with them in a car.
But the most important thing is that I don't beat myself up for not being perfect immediately, which is something I have always done to myself, because for most things in my life I have become really good really quickly, and - believe me - it takes some adjustment to allow myself that slack.
The other thing I keep in mind is that the world is full of brain-donor, knuckle-dragging half-wits that seems to have no problems behind the wheel.
If they can do it, I'm bloody sure I can...