HALLELUJAH! This Trini driver has passed her UK driver's test. Which is no small feat, letmetellyou. I have been driving for more than half my life, of course, but here in the UK you can only drive on a foreign (or even international) license for one year. So I called the AA and a nice man came to teach me how to pass the fiendish test.
The Theory and Hazard Perception parts of the test were no problem. But here, hardly anyone seems to pass their practical test the first time. Over the weekend, I googled "How to Pass your Driving Test" and it was all doom and gloom, people who had failed seven times, moaning about how hard it was. I dreaded the whole thing. I really like my instructor, and learning to drop 20 years of bad habits has been good. Also, there are great tips you can pick up. But driving around with someone telling you what to do and commenting on every little thing is NERVEWRACKING. I had had enough.
The night before my test, I dreamed that I sped off with my driving examiner, and he said, "You are SUPPOSED to use the steering wheel."
I looked around as we careened down the street. "Oh my GOD! Where IS the steering wheel?!?!"
"Look, just pull over here," he snapped. I did, and he got out to make a phone call. And then he just wasn't there! So I got out to look for him, and when I turned back, the car was GONE. I had left the engine running and someone must have stolen it! And then I realised that I had no idea where I was, and had left my handbag in a locker back at the DSA. (For the Theory test, you have to put your bag in a locker.) I woke up completely traumatized and didn't sleep much for the rest of the night.
My test was at 8.10 a.m, the time of crowds of schoolkids, Mums crawling along looking for somewhere to park, harried businessmen, buses, dog walkers, bicycles. I didn't have to leave my handbag in a locker, which was a relief. And the steering wheel was definitely there. The very first thing my examiner asked me to do was pull over on the left, which I did. Then he asked me to turn the car round. Ha. We were in the skinniest street, with cars parked on both sides and a lamp post on my left. I did a million-point turn, forgetting that you should always pull up the handbrake when you are changing from reverse to forward and vice versa (did you know that one? It's sensible. Gives you a chance to look round and not accidentally mash the accelerator instead of brake. I like this rule) and so I got a little flustered. Yes, I got totally confused turning a car around. Once I was facing the other way, I took a deep breath, and figured I was well on the way to failing and would chalk it up to experience. We drove around a bit, avoiding cyclists and kids and buses and such, and then we went back to the DSA, and he told me I had passed.
Well blow me down!