I Ar Serious Driver. This Ar Serious Test.
So after around 23 lessons, the Test Day was finally upon me.
I don’t get nervous for exams. Even driving on the lesson immediately before my test I only had around three small pangs of adrenalin when I thought about the challenge ahead. I was thinking that I knew how to drive, so what was the difference who sat next to me telling me what to do? Brian, my instructor had trained me up well and did a good job on the day of relaxing me and building the confidence up – as it was I was driving perfectly anyway!
I sat in the test centre waiting to be called, getting a bit more nervous now. I was comparing it to the feeling I get on a trackday, and trying to use that same focus. The problem is that compared to preparing to go out onto a race circuit on a strange bike to do 170+ mph REALLY doesn’t compare to being about to pootle around to get a damned car license! I guess when your goal posts for what constitutes ‘drama’ in life have been moved so drastically forwards, it helps with the lesser stuff.
I really wanted to pass, but my reasons were more for convenience than necessity… I tried to keep the focus as I signed the paperwork and walked with Colin – my examiner – out to the car.
First he asked me to open the bonnet (that’s “pop the hood” to you Yanks) and show him where I’d fill the car with windscreen wash. Nice and easy! Then we got into the car and he asked me another question which I can’t remember! Maybe it was about checking tyre pressures? These are all set ‘Show and Tell’ type questions, and very easy, anyway.
I started up and pulled out of the test centre trying to stay relaxed and taking it easy – I was behind another learner on their test who was slower than a three-legged dog, which wasn’t helping. I was driving well until we came to a right turn, when Cunty-Bollock in front was taking it so slowly I reached the point where I had to either stall or get the handbrake on (this was also on a hill) – I chose to risk it… lost the biting point of the clutch, started rolling backwards towards the car behind, floored the throttle to try and catch it on the revs, and made the turn.
“That wasn’t very good.” I said. No answer… I thought that could fail me. It was certainly borderline.
Trying not to get flustered, he asked me to pull into the side of the road. When I pulled off I realised all I’d done was check my rear view mirror and side mirror – missing the other three observations I should have made! Oh fuck my life! He made me pull over another few times and I made sure I did ALL the checks hoping he’d let me off…
He asked me to try reversing around a really awkward corner that was uphill with a nightmare curb to follow. I’m not very good at using the gas on the manoeuvers. I let it roll on the clutch, so to try this on a hill too steep to do that was a bastard. I dabbed the throttle and keep it controlled, despite having to stop about 10 times for other vehicles, which I was hoping I’d reacted to quickly enough for him. This was not looking great for the Cater Kid…
More driving around (flawlessly, I thought) and then I was told to do the Turn In The Road. I nailed it. Perfect control and obs.
I pulled out of it to drive off and I’d put the fucker in third gear!!! ARGHH!!! It stalled in the middle of the road at an angle and I just thought that was the test over!
“I don’t BELIEVE I’ve just put it in third!” I said, to no answer again.
What an absolute bastard! I was flushed and rattled, knowing that was it, now. He asked me to pull into the side of the road straight after, and I honestly thought he might tell me he was terminating the test because I was dangerous, or something.
He asked me to drive on, and I thought about just fucking it all in and driving like shite all the way back – I decided to just stick with it and try and make the rest as perfect as I could. I had no hope, but thought I may as well try… I felt like absolute crap.
We got back to the test centre and I felt bad as I saw Brian stood waiting, book in hand like an expectant Father. I’d let him down.
I was asked to park in one of the bays, and I drove straight in, stopping at a bit of an angle and even asking the examiner if he wanted me to straighten it up? To my surprise he said I was pretty much in the bay, and I could just drive forward, turning a little more and that would do.
I switched off as Brian came to the window to hear the debrief.
“The test is now over and despite-”
Fuck me! I thought – what does he mean ‘despite’???? This sounds a bit good!
“-a few errors I’m pleased to tell you that you’ve passed.”
I couldn’t believe it!!!!
I thanked him profusely and tried to figure out how the Hell I’d done it, as he waffled on about the errors to Brian – as it turned out I only got FOUR minor errors out of the allowed fifteen!
I got out and Brian gave me a big old hug, obviously chuffed to bits for me, and of course I thanked him, too!
So that’s it! I’m on the road in a car now!
Maybe I’ll start vlogging from inside the Fiat??