So, the people have spoken and what you want to know is why I — a known driver — had six (6) driving instructors before I got my license. I gotta admit, I thought more people would want to know the typos! Possibly you’ve heard that story before though.
OK, so at my school whether or not you passed your driver’s license first time out the gate was a BIG HONKING deal. There were rankings and everything. So I was on the starting blocks to learn…
My first driving lesson had actually been the year before. My granddad, a man full of optimism that I would be co-ordinated one day, decided to teach me the way he’d been taught, and how he’d taught my mother. So he drove me to an old factory car park, gave me the keys to his car, and said ‘it’s easy, just don’t hit anything’.
I hit a skip. It was literally the only thing in the car park.
My granddad claimed that I had every opportunity to hit the skip, but just seemed hell bent on getting the whole ‘hit the skip’ part of the day over with. So he didn’t want to teach me anymore.
Fast forward to when I could go on the roads and my mum says, ‘I’ll teach you!’. I love my mum. She is awesome. Never let her teach you how to drive. There was a lot of yelling, some esoteric hand gestures that I was meant to intuit meant ‘indicate and turn left’, and some crying.
So we booked a driving lesson with a school. He just never turned up. I didn’t even get in the car with him. He just bailed?
Fourth driving instructor. Now this guy was great. I was there driving away like a pro, going around roundabouts, down country lanes, reverse parking, the whole shebang. Frankly, I could have driven a getaway car in an exciting heist movie.
So, I’m ready to actually take my test. Before I book it my mum, who hasn’t let me drive her car since the ‘lesson’ says, ‘Well, now that you’re ready for you test why not get in some extra practice. You can drive me and your gran home from Tesco’s tonight.’
I, now a seasoned road warrior, cheerfully agree. My mum, at that point, had this gorgeous bright red Rover that looked so cool, and I planned to drive by best friend’s house and mockingly honk.
So off we go to the shops, get the shopping, back into the car and now I, TA Moore, am in the driver’s seat. So off we go. Two roundabouts, one hill start, the wonderful Newtownards one-way system, and back to the house. Mum’s car is surprisingly unresponsive and her brakes are terrible, so I make a note to tell her to get to the garage.
There’s some screaming. I remember that, but I thought they were just being dramatic.
We get home. Nobody moves. After a second my mum peels her hand off the passenger door and goes, ‘Get the vodka, leave the shopping’. Gran has had to take one of her heart pills.
It turns out that…there’s all this stuff you’re meant to do with your feet? Stuff that my driving instructor had pretty much been doing entirely for me. So I was just heading full speed for things and slamming on the brakes at the last minute as the car….just doesn’t….slow down on its own. Also just ripping the shit out of the gearbox.
So my driving instructor is fired. We get another one. He says that I’m unteachable. Mum says that she isn’t going to be driving me around when I’m 20, so we move on.
Driving instructor number five. Now this is going better. I’ve definitely worked out the whole feet and pedals thing, but sometimes it’s a bit weird. He always wants to schedule his lessons in my lunch break at school and some of his jokes are a bit on the knuckles. Still…fine, I’m learning.
Then he teaches me about emergency stops. Off we drove into the country where he’d make me drive along abandoned, windy country lanes and then I would do an emergency stop whenever he grabbed my thigh. Now remember, this was in my lunch break so I was wearing my school uniform. It was hardly a sexy uniform—we had a lot of hunter green involved—but I still thought it was a bit off.
My mum, when I told her why I didn’t want to book my next lesson, thought it was a LOT OFF. There was much yelling the driving school, words like pervert and ‘tell the school’ were used, and we got our money and I got ANOTHER driving instructor.
He didn’t grab anything. I did spend the first two lessons in the local Tesco’s carpark before he was happy to let me on the roads again. Things went well.
And so, with only a little drama, I was finally ready for my driving test. I was READY. I rocked up at the test centre, and it turned out I had the toughest guy to do my test. He passed NOBODY apparently.
Too late to fake a flu now, though, so in I hop in to the car and out onto the road we go. Straight into the just opened roadworks on one of the busiest roads in Newtownards. I swear we spent 15 minutes in the traffic, then he made me do a three point turn, spend 15 minutes on the way back, asked me to read a driver’s license plate and passed me on the spot!
I’ve been the road ever since! Mind you, I have always wanted to get back into the game and learn how to ride a motorbike. People do start involving Jesus when I bring the idea up though.