Driving Lesson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Come with me on one of my driving lessons. You'll soon understand why I hate them!

Driving Lesson

Here it comes, that car all decked out so no-one could miss what it is – a dual control driving school car. I had been hoping, just maybe, that she would cancel for some reason, right up until the time that the car pulled into the yard. My hope is shattered. Driving license and fee in pocket I make my way out to the car.

 

She used to say I looked like I was being led out to face a firing squad. No, that at least, would be quick and relatively painless. Perhaps I’m not quite so nervous.....or perhaps I’ve just got better at covering it up. Either way, I just wait for her to get out of the driving seat – I have, in the past, tried to get into the passenger side but she’s wise to that trick now.

 

I climb in and try to remember the CORRECT order to do everything in. Check handbrake, gear in neutral. Adjust mirror, adjust seat several times to get it right, adjust mirror again because I should not have done that first. And then I fasten my seatbelt, hand over my money, show my permit before She Who Must Be Obeyed hands me the keys.

 

What driving have you done since your last lesson?”

 

Well, the answer to that is the start to that feeling of failure. The answer, as always, is very little.

 

That’s okay,” she says. And then proceeds to tell me the route she has planned for me this day. I listen, watching the clock the entire time, willing those minutes to just get moving. Okay, by the time I start the engine there is 56 minutes to go.

 

Thirty seconds – that’s all it takes. “I didn’t see any proper observations from you before pulling away. I know you are in your own yard but you must get into the habit of doing things properly.”

 

Generally I manage the next part okay, turning right and then either left or right onto the main road at the bottom of the hill. I’ve done this so often I should be able to do it PROPERLY with my eyes closed – no, that’s wrong, she wouldn’t like that. At least I get a couple of ‘goods’, and these are rare and valuable things.

 

Okay, today we have turned left. We are now on a 100km road and I am happily driving along at 56km. Do I know what the speed limit is? Yes, I do. Then why am I driving so slowly when there are no adverse conditions and the road is clear?

 

Fair enough, I’ll put my foot down and hey, we’re now at 80km. “Slow down, you cannot know what is around the bend. Don’t brake on the bend. If you need to do that you haven’t slowed early enough.” My mind is trying to figure out how I have just been told to speed up and slow down on the same piece of road. Never mind that, there is a right junction up ahead that we are going to take.

 

I won’t panic, this I have done before. Mirror, indicator (too early), start to slow (not enough), change gear –wrong one, of course. Please be clear, I’m begging silently, and it is. Phew! We are now on an 80km road so I won’t be pushed into going faster than I want. It is a bendy road, some of which are very sharp. “Slow down earlier, you are going way too fast. And don’t forget to check your mirror. If that car behind had been a bit closer it would have been in the back of you.” I want to remind her just who said to slow down but I know my place – and I was always taught that I must not answer back to teachers.

 

Now, one of my favourite junctions is coming up. It is a fast road that we are about to enter and there is little visibility either way. How many times have I stalled here? I’ll tell you; so many that I’ve lost count. Well, at least this time I stall before starting to pull away. “You need more gas! Don’t accelerate so hard! Listen to what the car is telling you.” I’m listening to what my head is telling me -- ‘Get out. Give up. Just get out and walk.’ But it’s okay now. I’m back in some sort of control.

 

And she has to go and ruin it by making me take another right turn, almost straight away onto this two-way road that is only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. Outwardly calm and inwardly screaming, I carry on driving. It’s fine, there’s nothing coming. There is grass growing in the middle of the road so it must be pretty rarely used, but no, there’s a car approaching. There’s a space for it to pull in and it does. I pass it, going too fast, of course.

Use your brakes! Take your hand off the gear stick. You don’t want to change gear now. Why are you trying to pull away in third?” The impulse to bang my head onto the steering wheel is almost too strong to resist.

 

I want you to find a suitable spot, then you can park.” A suitable spot on a narrow road – is there such a thing. I look in the mirror, indicate left and draw the car to a stop. “Is this suitable? Whenever I say park you just do it. You must look ahead and plan it out properly.

Now, find somewhere suitable.” This time I do it more or less right to sit and listen to a list of all the things I’ve done wrong.

 

Back on the move and we meet another car and this one has no intention of slowing, let alone stopping in the nice space right next to it. “Brake! Take your hand off the gear stick and stop us”, she says, slamming her foot so hard onto the pedal her side that I contemplate suing for whiplash. I am expecting a lecture on what I did wrong, but instead get to listen to the other drivers short-comings. Hey, it’s not only learners that mess up.

 

I glance at the clock. Well, there’s only twenty minutes left.....oh, no, that long! We carry on driving until we come to a right junction where she wants me to turn the car around in. I don’t want to, I know this road, both of them, and I know how people drive on them. It’s all clear so I do it as quickly as I possibly can and guess what? It’s all wrong. I didn’t turn far enough into the road to begin with and ended up being stuck stationary, blocking both lanes.

 

I’m on familiar ground now for the final ten minutes, and miraculously I don’t do anything else wrong. Well, that’s not quite true.....I still slow down too early or too late, change into the wrong gear...... And into the yard, I’m doing so well. Then....I mess up. “I was just about to say how well you parked but you couldn’t leave that wheel alone.” Yep, I had to finish it on a good note!

 

And the really fun thing is that I get to do it all again a week later. That is if I have enough confidence to sit in the driving seat again!

 

 


Submitted: October 22, 2016

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Comments

Mike S.

Now, I'm a nervous wreck (probably not the best of words to use here!) It's too bad you can't learn in an automatic (less things to remember), you'll freak yourself out before you begin--breath--and try not to worry so much (I know, easier said than done!), you'll be fine, Hully!

Sat, October 22nd, 2016 7:20pm

Author
Reply

Well, that was a pretty accurate description of last weeks lesson, Mike. I just can't wait until tomorrow!! Thanks for reading.

Sat, October 22nd, 2016 12:25pm

ShadaStorm120

Ah, I'm allllll too familiar with this scenario. Only difference is, I get at least a little more expairence driving, even if it isn't much, by the sounds of this. My dad takes me driving occasionally. A few weeks ago, I went for my driving licence, got into the car with this guy, and failed completely. I made one mistake after the other, and afterwards I never wanted to step foot in the driving seat again, haha. But I know why, it was my lack of confidence. While sitting next to dad, with me driving, I was a whole lot more comfortable and confidence, but when I got in and drove with a stranger, that all disappeared in an instant.

Sat, October 22nd, 2016 8:41pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one!!! And thank you too for taking the time to read and comment -- it's much appreciated!

Sat, October 22nd, 2016 1:44pm

moa rider

Ah Mama Hullabaloo, Mike is right that an automatic is easier but you have to go with what you have. I've taught many people to drive and you have to talk quietly to them, for the learner it is a nerve-raking experience and confidence is what you need. Can I suggest you sit in your yard and pretend to drive. Just go through the motions and do it as if you driving along and often used route. You are then confident with gear changes and looking in the mirror. Sitting still using the clutch and gears is not harmful for the car, but do not actually turn the wheel, that is bad for it. The more practice the better you will become. Hang in there and don't fear making mistakes because the make the learning curve less steep. Usianguke

Sun, October 23rd, 2016 6:37am

Author
Reply

Thanks both for the read and the advice, Moa. I have had so many lessons and am only really starting to get to grips with it. At least now I just don't like it -- not that long ago I found it terrifying and would literally have panic attacks. I'll stick with it; she says it's just down to ' fine tuning'. Thanks again.

Sun, October 23rd, 2016 1:36am

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