To commemorate The Girl having her first Driving Lesson today – how OLD does that make me feel? I thought I’d share some driving… erm… ‘experiences’ with you all:
1. I will always remember my first proper lesson (i.e. NOT the one with Dad fuming and huffing and rattling the gear-stick with one hand on the flippin’ steering wheel which really did my confidence NO good whatsoever) and the sense of power and freedom it gave me. I thought I could do ANYTHING if I could drive.
2. My first proper Instructor was an ex-policeman who had such a relaxed attitude about paying attention to my driving (he had dual controls too) that he only realised I was taking a corner a bit too quickly when looked up from his “Caravanning Weekly” magazine – odd what we remember isn’t it? And saw that I’d embedded his car into the side of a MultiParts van at a junction – their jaunty slogan of “Thousands of parts for Millions of cars” trilling ironically in front of us.
(The only UP-side of having this accident was the look on my mother’s face when the Actual Police came round and read me my Rights in the living room. I don’t think she went out for a week after this… neighbours, you see.)
3. Whilst attempting the three-point-turn during my first Test and because it was always tricky getting the gear into Reverse, after I’d done the whole ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ thing, I forgot it was still in Reverse and, believing it to now be in First ready for the OFF, I cheerfully shot backwards at speed and knocked down a sapling tree - on the pavement. I laughed like a nervous Nellie and said to the Examiner “is it worth me carrying on?” to which he replied in the affirmative. I sweated and held back tears for the remaining 25 minutes of the Test.
4. During my second Test, a year later, I failed for TWO reasons. One: I hadn’t let a bus pull out when it was indicating – I didn’t actually realise it is LAW to allow any public transport clear access. I do now. And I let buses pull out all the time. See? I learned.
The second reason was because whilst waiting for the traffic lights to turn green on the High Street, three of my friends walked across the road in front of the car. When they realised it was me inside, they stopped in front and started pointing and talking and waving their Funky Junction shopping bags at me. Forgetting where I was, I revved up the engine menacingly and roared back at them from behind the wheel like I was intent on mowing them down. The examiner was not best pleased. Dangerous he called it. Stupid dumbass Blonde moment I call it.
5. I didn’t take another test for 4 years after these failed attempts, convinced God was telling me I wasn’t meant to take control of a weighty, metal killing machine. I should stick to buses – at least they get to pull out when they want.
6. The day I passed, I could have kissed my Examiner. It was a lovely sunny day, just after lunch (apparently more people pass if the Examiner isn’t raving hungry for food) and he was helpful with my Road Signs test at the end. He didn’t give me the answers, but he was nice and smiley and encouraging. I shall always remember him. Whatever his name was.