Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'll drive

It is with great pride that I share with you the good news: I started learning how to drive just over two months ago, and today I passed my driving test. This has been hanging over my head since I was 17, and today I can finally say to all my friends and family, 'Don't worry about giving me a ride, I'll drive." I am beyond happy.

I didn't want anyone to know I was going to do it because then I suspected I'd get a barrage of text messages wishing me luck this morning, not unlike the morning of my first colonic irrigation! and that just somehow felt like too much pressure. The idea was to go and do it, and if I didn't make it, simply book again and give it another try.

I woke up at 6am with my heart beating in my chest, and thought to myself, if there's anything that's going to fail me to today it will be nerves, because aside from that, I'm pretty much ready. So I need to relax. Somehow focusing on the thought of texting my friends and calling my mother with the good news helped me switch the feeling in my stomach from anxiety to excitement, which was far better. Positive, and admittedly a risk of it being misguided, visualisation was a definite help.

Anyway, I had my test at 10.14am in Isleworth. Johnny, my instructor, met me at 7am, so we had a good 2.5 hours of driving before the test, plus time for a coffee break. In this time I manged to muck up one of my maneuvers and he was telling me off, and I was getting snippy back because I thought he was being anal. It was a sign that our time together was coming to an end, or at least, needed to. As much as I like the guy and think he is a brilliant teacher (which he most definitely is), part of my incentive for passing was escaping constantly being corrected or reprimanded by him - it kind of wares thin after a while. But I suppose that is the nature of being a student.

The exam waiting room consisted of a young guy about 19, an elderly lady, a girl in her mid twenties, and me - all of us accompanied by our instructors. Everyone looked visibly nervous, especially the elderly woman who kept sighing loudly. And then it was showtime, and the inspectors came into the room and everyone's name was called out matching them with an inspector, except me. My guy finally emerged from the room last, and said my name. My heart skipped a beat, because of all the inspectors, he had the most strict-looking face. Steely grey hair and a manner of peering over his glasses which made him look stern. When he said my name I smiled and stood up and he smiled back and that helped me relax a bit.

When we got in the car and after he had asked me my safety questions he said to me, "Just relax -I'm on your side, we want you to pass, so just take it easy and do your best." He was soft spoken and his voice reminded me of the sort they use for wild life narration programmes - posh and kind of old fashioned BBC, and strangely calming actually. For what it was worth what he said did help me relax, and I had a really good test. I aced both my maneuvers (turn in the road and reverse around a corner), and my roundabouts and dual carriageway driving was all fine. I had one or two situations with people reversing or moving out in front of me that were beyond my control, but I was cautious and did my best within the given situations.

I felt good about the test, and without wanting to sound arrogant, when he said I had passed at the end, I was over the moon happy, but not enormously surprised - it had just felt right. Six minor faults - mainly steering and position of car in the road, but these are the sort of thing I imagine will become polished with more driving experience.

I have booked one more lesson with Johnny to tackle motorway driving - just to get a bit of knowledge with lane changing etc, but in the mean time, I am now a fully-fledged driver. God it feels good to say that.


Anonymous said...


Mags said...

Well done sis. It took me 3 go's to pass mine!

letters from london said...

Thank you very much :-)