It has taken me well over 24 hours to recover from yesterday morning's driving lesson. Only now are my hands beginning to unfurl from their vice-like grip after having been at the steering wheel for the first time in four years. I’m peeling my fingers back, vertebra by vertebra. Not a pretty picture.
My driving instructor does not appear to be the crazy eyed, pantie sniffer who drinks pints of orphan’s tears that I was expecting. From my first lesson I have come to the conclusion that he is, in fact, a very nice gentleman. The kind of gentle giant who spends his free time lovingly wrapping bandages on the paws of injured puppies and who smells of Werther’s Originals. His name is Scott.
I sat in the driver’s seat, a yard away from my own house. Scott said that because it was only an hour long lesson there was no point in driving anywhere further when we could just practice going up and down my own street. I cringed with humiliation. It was bad enough having neighbours twitching their curtains and watching as I got into a Learner car, but displaying my start-stop-start clutch control for all and sundry and accidentally mounting curbs in front of everyone was sheer torture for me. Why? Asks Scott. Because I am the only person in this village over the age of 17 who can't drive.
So up and down Charles Avenue we went, stalling and juttering and turning on the windscreen wipers instead of the indicator. I even tried out a three point turn which turned into a 6 point turn but that's great compared to my record of a 24 point turn. All in all I suppose I did alright for a first go. Scott even had enough confidence in me to allow me onto the high street in our village; that was rather exciting. I drove at 32 mph all the way. I felt like a rebel.
I won’t lie though. It is still horrifying to look around and realise it is me who is in control of an entire vehicle. I had the fear of God in me, which is why I held onto the steering wheel as if I was grasping on for dear life.
My instructor advised me to try out a few practice theory tests online. Signs, rules of the road, speed limits etc. I failed. Several times over. Now, I’m sorry but I’m pretty sure the majority of people who drive and have been driving for years could not tell you what half of these signs are. I mean, in the name of the wee blue man!
So let’s see how road savvy some of you are. Just for the laugh.
What do these signs mean?
Tuesday, January 29, 2008