They are doing widening and resurfacing the road that leads into the local village. This is one of two roads that lead into the hubs of shops, community services, and tourist attractions. And although the other route follows some backroads and is probably only an extra 10 minutes, the inconvenience of sitting at roadworks seems more manageable.
Last week I was sitting and waiting in cue for the man to twist his lollipop sign from stop to slow. He was standing at the top of this incline in the road. It’s not that big of a hill, just a rise large enough that if you drive a manual car you may have to do a hill-start with your emergency brake to avoid rolling backwards. Guess what kind of car I drive?
I’m the kind of person that when you are stopped in queues, you give the person in front of you some room – whether it’s giving the person in front of you at the post office some personal space, or giving the car in front of you some room.
On that day there was a mini-bus full of tourists that decided to park particularly close to me in that queue at the roadworks. Normally, I would be a little anxious about having to get going with a car so close, but on this day it caused what can only be described as a panic attack.
I was in the car by myself. I kept thinking about how to do a hill-start with the emergency brake because I was so afraid that I would roll back if I didn’t. Then I started freaking out that I wasn’t sure how to do a hill-start. Now, dear reader, you should know, I have always driven a manual car. I have been driving a stick-shift since I learnt to drive 20 years ago. Driving a manual car is not something new to me. But, on this day, I was completely overthinking it.
It’s easy to blame the driver behind me for parking so close to me. It’s easy to excuse it on the fact I haven’t been doing much driving the past couple of weeks because of it being school holidays. The blame is all on my anxiety. My brain was stuck in a vicious cycle and it was making me literally nauseated.
I took a deep breath and told myself that I knew how to do this, to just wait until it was time to go and my body will kick into automatic gear to do it, and that even if I rolled back what’s the worst that would happen (a little embarrassment and a lecture to a bus driver for parking his vehicle so effing close). I told myself to think about something else.
That’s when I looked up and noticed the water truck spraying a halo of water that was shining in the sunlight. I noticed the driver of the car in front of me was talking on the phone with hand gestures that were animated. I noticed the Ulysses butterfly flying high above the machinery ahead.
Then the man dressed in bright orange turned his sign from red to yellow. And I started that car. Without rolling back, without thinking about it, I started that car and moved in a forwards direction.
As I avoided witches hats and the dips in the uneven road, I realised that I do the exact same thing with my writing. I overthink it, completely. When I’m working on writing assignments for courses, I freeze because I overanalyze what I have to do and whether I’m doing it correctly. When I’m planning my novels, I get to a stage where I just stop because I start going round in circles about what I’m doing.
I’ve finally decided to just roll with it, to start putting words on the page and gather up materials for the planning process, and to write.
Actually, let me rephrase that, I write.
I am a writer.