My frantic quest to finally learn to drive has had the unexpected side effect of giving my Mum Tourette’s. As we were practising around my hometown, we turned down a road with cars packed in along both kerbs. I crept along, trying not to notice the torrent of random swear words coming from my Mum as she leaned as far back as she could, with the expression of someone staring death in the face. Thankfully nothing happened, but as my judgement of what is considered enough room to drive through is not completely sound yet, it’s amazing I managed to pass the hazard perception part of my driving theory this week.
Unlike most of my friends, I didn’t start learning to drive when I was seventeen because I was saving all of my money for spending the summer holidays during my A-Levels touring Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Malawi- in fact, pretty much every country in the south of Africa except South Africa itself. (I suppose we did stop off in Johannesburg on a flight transfer, but that’s another story.) After that, all of my efforts regarding finance were focused on university; I just couldn’t imagine affording all of the expenses that came with a car.
Typically, I felt quite under-prepared as I made my way to the test centre on Wednesday; focusing so much on the Highway Code meant that I had only spent a few days practising Hazard Perception, and my mock scores weren’t promising. In fact, by the time I was sat in my booth and ready to go, the whole experience of sitting an exam felt distinctly alien to me; the days of filing in to an exam hall packed with single desks and twitchy invigilators seemed like a lifetime ago, a period of my life that I had said farewell to.
As I had signed in, a few others around me had remarked that it was not their first time. Now with the first round of questions in front of me, I despondently pictured myself slouching in for a second attempt a few weeks later. I was resigned to a near miss, a valiant attempt where I passed my multiple choice but fell at the final hurdle because I failed to notice a virtual car changing direction; just one of life’s setbacks, I suppose. Considering this, you can imagine how overjoyed I was when I found out I had passed. The acknowledgement from the member of staff weren’t exactly bursting with praise, but then how many must they congratulate on a daily basis?
I know passing your theory test is not the most momentous feat. After all, the majority of people take it and pass it (some eventually), and the practical is going to be the tougher challenge. But as I emptied my locker, I couldn’t help overhearing the frustrations of a young lad who was due to start his test but had forgotten his provisional licence; it seemed that he had been genuinely oblivious to the fact he would need it. In contrast, I felt I had an achievement worth smiling about. An accomplishment is an accomplishment after all.