I had planned to make this blog about how I took part in NaNoWriMo again this year and, for the first time, finished, but yesterday I did something I think is even more impressive so I’m going to talk about that. It might not be directly related to The GM, but I’m just that maverick kind of guy who doesn’t play by the rules but gets the job done.*
I finally passed my driving test.
I’ve never been particularly interested in cars, or the use thereof, except in games when it tends to be easier and if you hit things it might be bad, but not hundreds-of-dollars-of-real-money bad. And at least half the time hitting things is good, anyway. But I did, at about…eighteenish, get my learner’s license, and with it the ability to drive around as long as I had garish yellow plates up and a supervising driver with their full license.
I proceeded to do nearly nothing with this.
In those days, you only had to have fifty hours of driving experience behind you when you went for your test – these days that’s been increased to fifty, and I’m not sure whether or not that makes things safer. Anecdotal evidence says not, but anecdotal evidence often hates change so who knows. Fortunately for me, I got my L plates back in the day, so my fifty hours flew by. Or if they didn’t fly, at least they didn’t crawl, and in the fullness of time, I felt confident in sitting for my P’s test.
I proceeded to break the law, about five minutes in. Funnily, that’s enough to fail.
Disheartened and distracted, feeling no particular need to have my full license, I didn’t drive again for a while. But I did, ultimately, get back on the proverbial horse, practice a little more while paying special attention to what sort of road markings you may not cross and when, and I took my test a second time.
This time, I failed for being excessively cautious. Not, apparently, solely for that, but that was the error the tester made the biggest point of mentioning. As far as flaws go, for a young-adult male driver, being over-cautious is not a terrible one. Still, I didn’t see any great need to get my license, and again I didn’t bother driving for a while.
My life moved on a bit, and a few jobs which might have been nice required a license, which was kind of annoying but the tests aren’t free and it isn’t as though I own a car, so whatever. But slowly it became more and more important for me to have a license – or at the bare minimum, it would have been useful. So I resumed practice and booked my test, and got tenser and tenser as the day approached.
When I actually got in the car with the tester, my hands were sweaty and my heart was running faster than I liked. I tried to control my breathing, which helped a tiny bit, but still. If I were just driving along and felt as stressed as I did with that guy watching my every movement or lack thereof, I would pull over to try and calm down. When you’re paying someone to watch your driving, that doesn’t seem to be an option.
I drove him around Hobart, following his requests and panicking at every mistake or any imagined mistake. I tried constantly to keep myself calm, but it was a bit of a losing battle.
The whole drive was less than half an hour – and I know that because I was checking the time at least once a minute, in between obsessing over the speedo and the mirrors. When we pulled into the car park back at the office I was filled with worries, and he compounded that by starting off telling me about a couple of my mistakes. When he told me I’d passed, words cannot explain the relief I felt.
Since then I’ve celebrated by going on a nice drive up Mount Nelson (I borrowed my mother’s car), and telling almost everyone I’ve ever met that I finally passed my test. And now I’ve told you, as well.
As I said, there’s no relevance to the GM in this little anecdote. I just desperately wanted to brag that my quest of nearly a decade is finally over, and I don’t have to worry about it any more.
*this statement is untrue in every particular.
- Charles (David/Wizard)