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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

part 2 of What if

Seventeen and I know everything. Yes, I was the typical know all teeny bopper of the early sixties.
I had learned my lesson about driving illegally but the Marlon Brando in me was raring to go.
Provisional driving licence in hand it was time to to get myself driving lessons.
A quid an hour! but no choice.
Working on HGV and smaller vans I had learned the basics of the pedals and the gears but more importantly the brakes.
The instructor smelt like a brewery and I was beginning to have doubts about his professionalism.
There was no need to worry, he was excellent. He needed to change his beer-sodden clothes more often.
He was honest with me and realised I would only need a few lessons.
There was no way he was going to milk my hard-earned money away.
A friend of mine had been duped into taking many lessons and still no test date in sight.
The instructor put me in for my driving test for a first available date.
It was still about three months wait, but as he was a regular to the testing station they would offer him any cancellations.
I had weekly lessons mainly on Saturday mornings.
I needed some road time during the busier week.
Market day is not the best time to experience thoughtless pedestrians and wacky delivery vehicles or indeed dustbin men.
I had had seven lessons when I was given a test date and time.
Would I be willing to accept it?
Too right I would. It was on a market day but the testers did not want to waste half the allocated time being stuck anywhere near the market.
I had driven over most of the test routes and knew a lot of the roads?
The big day had come, it`s now or never.
The first problem that hit me was the roadside eyesight test.
He asked me to read a licence plate on a car a good hundred yards away.
I could barely see the plate let alone the number.
I mumbled that it was a bit far so he suggested one a bit nearer.
The first obstacle overcome.
Wearing fashionable winkle picker shoes is not to be recommended.
I stalled the car on a small hill when my toes became entangled with the dual controls.
I kept my composure and recovered the control.
I`m thinking I have blown this, but no after three or four highway code questions, I was informed that I had passed.
What a relief for me and the instructor, who drove the car back to his base and demonstrated how I would be driving in a few weeks.
Like an idiot, I am never going to drive like that, or am I.
17 nov 2020
What if I had a new car?
A few of my friends already have cars, I wonder what are the chances of borrowing one of them.
That question was answered rather abruptly. There was no need for coarse language like that; A simple no would have sufficed.
As luck would have it one of the lorry drivers was changing his car and he generously donated his old A40 Somerset to me with a warning.
"Get some insurance and be careful when you change down into second gear."
I certainly was not going down the no insurance route again.
Second gear now that was a different kettle of fish.
Little did I know that a problem with these particular cars was if you hit second gear too fast the bloody thing would jam into the gear.
The first time it happened to me I was only a few hundred yards from home.
I then found that racing down the small incline to our house and letting the car coast to a standstill let out an almighty roar.
I was going to be popular in my street late at night.
After a couple of mishaps with the gear, I got the repair down to about twenty minutes.
Friday payday now became a bit of a financial strain.
I could have three gallons of petrol plus three pints and twenty fags and get change out of a quid.
I hasten to add not all at the same time although I did push the drinking and driving a few times, but no breath tests in those days.
Not long before I realised courting was not a cheap past time so I had to sacrifice the fags: One of my better what if decisions.
Although relatively new to garage mechanic I soon picked it up and managed to clock up loads of overtime and experience.
With money comes the desire to better yourself and chase the girls harder.
Although not a one-horse town apart from boozing there was very little to do. It was time for pastures new.
Several of my friends had joined the army and their tales convinced me to apply.
If I applied the WHAT IF to all of my then short life I don`t think I would have gone too long before a life of crime would have ensued.
I never fancied prison life.

Submitted: November 17, 2020

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