For many years, just over 27 to be precise, I have been a pedestrian. I have walked everywhere or been a passenger gliding carefree to my destination. When I was at university, there was no parking available to me and for two jobs in a row, I could walk to work in 10 minutes. A car with all of its tax, insurance and petrol costs was an unwelcome expense.
For just short of a decade, my provisional driving license that I got back in 2004 was no more than a form of photo identification. As we all know, people can change a lot in 10 years, so it wasn’t even a very good form of identification. I now look nothing like that teen mug shot I have been carrying around in my wallet for all these years.
But when the company I worked for went into liquidation, I lost my job and I discovered just how lucky I was to be able to walk wherever I needed for so long. As it turns out, cars are pretty handy things to have, but you need this thing called a full driving license in your possession to legally command a vehicle. I didn’t have one of these and this was a problem in finding my next job.
So I did plenty of research to find someone to teach me how to drive (I asked my housemate who he used) and booked my lessons. I had plenty of free time on my hands so I crammed in the lesson time as much as I could.
I remember not being able to sleep properly the night before a lesson as I ran through, or more appropriately drove through, all possible eventualities in my mind. These ranged from heading into a turn too fast and getting confused at roundabouts to escape maneuvers in the case of an alien invasion.
It wasn’t long before I no longer feared my approaching lessons and felt comfy behind the wheel. Although apparently for a few weeks I drove like they do in the movies and didn’t keep the steering wheel very steady. But soon enough I ironed out the kinks and found myself driving pretty much independently.
It was at this sort of time I started noticing things about how other people were driving. I would tut as fools blocked sat in the middle of junctions because they didn’t want to wait for the light to go green again and I started to notice just how few people actually stick to speed limits. For most areas, 30mph was the limit, and I always drove on the limit. So the queue forming behind me needed to check themselves before they wrecked themselves. I even had to scold my own father for driving right up the rear bumper of a learner driver when I went home for Xmas. You were all learners once, back off people.
A couple of months into learning I was told I should book my theory test so we could plan ahead to booking the practical test. The end game had begun. I proceeded to study relentlessly for my theory test and put hours into going through mock tests. I really wish I hadn’t bothered.
You get into an argument and are angry before a long journey. Do you…
a) Give yourself time to calm down before leaving
b) Have an alcoholic drink to steady your nerves before leaving
c) Continue your rampage and attack the nearest armed police officer
d) Slink into a volcano lair and plot your revenge on the corrupt western governments
This was an actual question I got in the test, although I may have made up two of the possible answers. But quite frankly, I believe that if you get this question wrong, it should be an instant fail and the moron would be unable to retake the test for 6 months. They seriously need to rethink the name of the theory test. I propose “The Test of Bleedingly Obvious Common Sense”. I came out of the test with a 49/50 and thankfully eased through my practical exam 5 weeks later.
I still don’t have a car, insurance, petrol or road tax worries, but after 4 months of learning I have my license and some money in my bank account. But I’m sure I will be out on the road and broke in no time. Just be warned if you come across an amazingly good driver who looks outstandingly cool behind the wheel and looks like he’d give The Stig a run for his money on a racetrack. It could be me. Now to find a job to drive to.
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