South Park Self

those kilometres and the red lights, I was always looking left and right

Apparently there are mutant ninja Catholics in my family tree. Or, possibly, just Calvinists. Either way, there's a hell of a lot of guilt going on. Things about which I am currently guilty: my lack of communication with the house agent in France because I'm afraid if I email her she'll say she's no longer my agent; the blasted-heath state of the garden; my complete failure to do anything resembling exercise for the last couple of years; my lack of blogging; the way my poor little car billows smoke out from under her hood after driving for longer than five minutes; and my inability to replace her owing to a rooted reluctance to provoke the insurance gods by buying a new car while still driving illegally on a non-existent Zimbabwean driver's licence, an ancient and expired certificate of competency and a South African learners. Oh, and, of course, the driving illegally. I outrage my own Lawful Good on a daily basis. It's probably doing me untold damage on the astral plane.

In slightly mitigating pursuit of the driver's licence, I have attained the preliminary step of the aforementioned learner's licence, which was annoying but not too difficult to achieve, even given my grad student intellectual perfectionism which means I still haven't quite forgiven myself for getting three questions wrong out of a hundred. (They were multiple choice. There's no excuse.) I have also embarked on a series of lessons with a rather lovely driving instructor lady with a throaty contralto voice and a pleasing air of unflappable calm, neither of which are consoling me for the lessons, which I loathe and abhor with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

Driving a car is a particularly strange and powerful psychological process. Apparently most people identify themselves as good drivers regardless of actual skill, which I think has something to do with the weird process of identification and body schema which causes a driver to extend their own body sense to encompass the car itself. (This is why even a minor rear-ending in slow traffic causes homicidal rage: it's a personal space invasion akin to a complete stranger slapping your butt unexpectedly). And having your self suddenly extend to a tonne or so of hyper-engineered metal and plastic with pleasing curves and superhuman speed capabilities is a massive power trip, a heady extension of agency no less effective for being routine. (This is why Iron Man is such a powerful archetype, and is probably at least partly why the movies make so much money).

I've always loved driving, not just the speed and independence but the interaction with the car, the sense of co-operation; I listen a lot to a car's engine note, I enjoy that mutual responsiveness of driver and machine. So it's a truly horrible and dispiriting experience to encounter the quite ridiculous demands of the K53 driving test, and to feel, after 25 years of driving, like a troglodytic and ham-fisted amateur. 25 years will allow you, apparently, to build up some really awful driving habits. I do things in the wrong order, I ride my clutch, I never use the handbrake, I appear to routinely roll back about an inch without noticing while taking off, and I am to date absolutely incapable of rewriting my hardwired routines to meld corrections to all of the above with the particularly bizarre and impossible set of observations the K53 requires of its hapless victims. I now have a permanent crick in the neck from blind-spot checking, and an abusive relationship with my rear-view mirror. Attempts to grok the K53 are not only making me temporarily into a truly terrible driver, they're also inculcating me with the belief that there's no actual way I'll ever pass the damn thing without heavily bribing the examiner, which is not an option owing to sheer bloody-mindedness as much as the Lawful Good.

In short, aargh. The guilt levels are not assisted by the fact that the hatred of these lessons is sufficient to cause severe avoidance, which means I've not got around to phoning for the next appointment since approximately Thursday. Any of you who see me in Real Life might do me the favour of prodding me gently and asking reproachfully about driving lessons. I may growl, but it's for my own good.
  • Current Mood: annoyed grrrrrr
  • Current Music: David Bowie, Low
passing your driver's test
You know my technique: put on make-up and show a lot of leg. Works onetime!
Re: passing your driver's test
Alas, I lack make-up and any skirt shorter than ankle-length, not to mention the ability to wear make-up convincingly or show a leg. I may try something with chocolate cake, though.
The K53 is an abomination unto Nuggin. Just get the routine down so you hear the instructor's voice in your head and memorise the inspection. Have you made an appointment for your test yet? Probably the best incentive really.

Remember to get a friend to drive with you to your driving test! The examiners take malicious glee in failing applicants outright if they admit to having driven without a licensed driver in the car.
Fortunately, that's what the driving school is for - they drive you there and you can use their car, which is useful given that mine is currently billowing out illegal clouds of black smoke if I drive it for longer than ten minutes.
K53. I had managed to forget it, because it was, well, 2 decades ago. *faints*
My driving teacher was named Dougie, and he also coached my brother in tennis. And I learned in my mom's sky-blue Cressida. Memory Lane is a funny old place.
Um, good luck. And have you made that appointment yet? :-)
I passed (on the 4th try) because it was pouring with rain and my rear windscreen wipers made a peculiarly piercing squeaking sound when activated, which I used ruthlessly every time a blind spot check came up. The examiner was completely distracted, and spent most of the test slewing around in his seat to locate the awful noise!
I passed on the second test, in my mother's old blue Mazda 323. I failed the first test after performing three hill starts in a row, then rolling back slightly on the fourth one (it was a hilly road in Strand). It seemed a bit mean.

As the oldest member of my group of friends, it meant I was taxi driver to my mates for about a year or so, until one of them got a licence too.
Hee. The Phil Coulson fan frenzy thing is causing me endless amusement. Squeeing about this particular figure has been doing the rounds of Tumblr recently. It's beautifully made, and amazingly lifelike. And bloody expensive.
My original driving instructors name was Anton Foot caused me no end of hilarity!

Retaking my test here in Oz...I dutifully checked blind spots before pulling out. Had to take two attempts to park, was all nervous, but when I got to the end and asked if I passed the guy laughed and said: "yeah, in the first 10 sec nobody here checks their blind spots...just the mirrors' O.o