I FAILED MY FOURTH DRIVING TEST TODAY!
Well, that was liberating.
Though part of me is tempted to leave the post at that, I feel as though I owe the public (as in, the 4 viewers I get per day, love you guys) some sort of explanation. Actually, don’t read this, this is terrible material.
I am twenty two. I started learning to drive, like everyone else at school, when I was seventeen. I got a pack of lessons with a well known company, and sat in the driver’s seat of the car in my first lesson, both wide eyed and enthusiastic. Around four and a half minutes into this journey of self discovery, I learnt something truly valuable about myself. That is, that my co-ordination is somewhat non existent. The penny dropped right in front of me. I suddenly realised why, after five years of attempting to learn tennis, I continued to be miserable at it, and why my piano teacher always used to say he thought there was a connection missing between my brain and my fingers.
Cole, my first instructor, was recommended to me by a friend but sadly my lack of co-ordination and his lack of patience did not bode well. He gave up on me entirely and threw me on to Ross. Ross was far better than Cole, aside from the fact that I felt as though I was paying good money for his cigarette breaks. Said breaks eventually climaxed with a rather dramatic finale when I received a call from the company saying that he had suffered a heart attack. Smoking, friends, is the single biggest risk factor for heart disease. If you’ve made it this far, a) kudos to you and b) don’t smoke and c) Seriously, why are you still here? Ross is, however, well and happy now, and although I never got another call from the company, or my money back, the driving journey slowly jerked to an end.
My entry into Year 13 marked the beginning of The Grand And Overly Competitive Ridiculous Grammar School Game of Trying To Get Into Medical School. Frankly, at this point, little else mattered. I shoved driving to the back of my mind, whilst all my friends trickled through to the other side with pink licences.
Onwards and upwards into the summer after my first year. Bored stiff and with nothing to do for a long and intensely boring summer, I embarked on a high intensity course with Tim. However, my 1.5 year driving break allowed me to think sensibly. The fact that, for me, a biting point has little to do with a clutch and a lot to do with a burger pushed me to try driving an automatic car. This was splendid. So much less to worry about. Now, although this decision was excellent, Tim was not. Tim was robbing me by talking endlessly about the theory of driving around a roundabout, before being swept off on a tangent on when he first discovered that he was homosexual. I forget whether we ever got onto actually driving the car.
This battle continued until my first term of third year. At this point I realised that I needed to drive. Without a car, I can’t get around from placement to placement. And I needed a good instructor and this time I was going to be ruthless. That’s when I met Dave. Dave is without a doubt, the best instructor I have ever had.
I consider myself to be a challenging driver. A host of bad experiences, my natural, god given ability to suck at driving and a lazy attitude all culminated in me being a wreck on the roads. Dave, the poor guy, had to undo every single bit of it and start from scratch. His lessons were structured. He was firm, but calm, and had a brilliant sense of humour. I have driven with Dave for coming up to a year and a half, and guess what folks? I still haven’t passed my driving test.
I am so emotionally invested in this idea of being able to drive a car, to have freedom, to have independence and to finally just be an adult. To the point of desperation. The first three tests have merged into a blur of tension and nerves. Between each one, the waiting period for the next has been painstakingly long. But though it, Dave and I continued to push, to work on my flaws and weaknesses, to do mock tests so I could practise in a high pressure environment. I have spent a long time feeling as though I am my own worst enemy. I fuel the car with my emotion and it gets the better of me. All the while, I see my friends passing on their first or second time and I would think ‘Why am I so useless at this? What is wrong with me?’. I never tell anyone on the day of another test because I can’t be bothered to come out and say ‘I failed again’.
This brings me back to point number one. I failed my fourth driving test today. Failed it, fair and square. I knew I failed it in the first three minutes as I approached the roundabout outside the test centre and I didn’t see the car coming towards me, making the examiner brake for me. At this point, something truly dawned over me. Since I now, no longer had the pressure of passing this test I had already failed, I can just go for a very expensive but nice drive. It was a beautiful day. The sky was richly blue and the sun filtered between the trees and danced on the tarmac below me. Every day I see sick people but I myself am not just healthy but bounding with limitless energy, ready to be put to good use for good causes! Whilst I spend my time being so deeply attached to this idea of driving, blowing it up to be such a huge issue in my head, I forget that everything else is kind of okay. There is always so much out there to worry about and I, personally, have an exceptional gift for locating those things but today, I didn’t. I had a good drive. I was so relaxed. As soon as the examiner told me I had failed I was least bothered because I already knew. Instead of throwing my head back in exasperation like I normally would, I positively beamed at him and thanked him for being so nice.
Dave got me a cake because he really thought we would be celebrating today. Though he’ll never say it, I reckon he’ll really miss me when I eventually pass.
Driving truly has been, and continues to be a journey of self discovery for me. I don’t know when I will clear this test. It could be next time, or the time after, or months and months from now. All I know is that a time will come when I will do it. And although I’m about to go and cry into a cup of Earl Grey now for the disappointment of the day, I will not, for a long time, forget my epiphany of total gratitude that took place, five minutes into my fourth driving test.
If there’s a God up there who is listening, thankyou for that.
PS 28/04/2016 I passed my fifth driving test.