The Saga, part 2
Alright, suffice it to say that the low point in this story was the first driving test. I booked another test, and prepared myself for another two-month wait. I tried to look on the bright side of things. I was leaving the country shortly after my first test for a few weeks in the States, when I could forget about all this and drive in a country where my license was valid. Then, when I returned from the states, we would have Thanksgiving and some other nice distractions, and I would only have a couple of weeks to wait for my next test on December 6.
Despite having a great time in the states, the driving test loomed on the horizon, tormenting me with the allure of being a permanently, life-long licensed driver in the half of the world that is either a British commonwealth or a part of the European Union. The worry was annoying.
On top of this, I kept repeating in my head all the ways that you can fail the test. If you roll back too far when starting on an incline, fail. If you forget four times to check your mirror BEFORE you signal on a lane change or turn, fail.
So, finally, the day arrived. Today, I went to the test center prepared… two spare brake light bulbs just in case. Sure enough, he asked me how I would check the brake lights… I had a moment of panic, but no worries, they were fine. Having already gotten further than I had last time, I felt a little relieved, then I realized that I hadn’t even started the test yet! Here’s a recap of the more exciting portions of the test:
I had looked both ways at a blind corner and was just about to pull out, but then I decided to creep up a little and check one more time… zoom, a cyclist came flying by. Good thing I checked again. If you knock a cyclist off their bike, it’s bad news… sort of a ‘do not pass go’ kind of situation.
I did the ‘reverse bay parking’ maneuver badly, so badly that the examiner had to get out and walk around the car to check if my tires were touching the white lines. I tried to read his face; he was like Iceman… I felt a little like Maverick, so I got a bit cheeky with him and asked if I could ask him if I failed. He said, “Yeah, you can ask.” Then nothing; he was freezing me out! I said, “Did I fail?” And without looking up from his clipboard he said, “Just nearly.” My mouth was dry; there was no charming the Iceman.
So after 7 months, £255 (about $400), and untold amounts of worry and emotional stress, I pulled back into the test center parking lot, shut off the engine and waited to hear the Iceman say this: “Well, Mr. Bullard, your practical driving test is now complete…”<writing, writing, writing> “and,” <pause> “you have been successful.”
Glory, glory, hallelujah. Amen, and amen.