So, I've just arrived home from my 8th (I think?) driving lesson. Now, when I was younger -oh ok, around 2 months ago before I started to learn- I used to think that driving looked...not easy, but definitely easIER. I mean, I always gathered that the gears would be a bit confusing, but I didn't take into account that horriibbblleeee clutch. Or the amount of times you have to check your mirrors. Or all the road signs. Or white van drivers. (I could bore you with more, but I won't).
The one thing I totally forgot to think about was the "Learner Driver Treatment." I mean, you'd think people would ease off a bit if they saw a learner driver stall, or roll back? I mean, you wouldn't laugh at a kid who fell of a bike, would you? (Well, I bloody well hope not).
I was wrong, oh so wrong. I think when all drivers SEE a Learner Driver they either think "Oh great. It's going to take longer to get to work now" - which I can understand- but the worse one is the Arrogant Factor.
"Oh bahahaha, I passed my test years/months/weeks/hours ago, I'm way better than that loser. Better stick the front of my car up their arse". Cheers. Cheers for that guys. As if we weren't thinking about enough.
I am lucky that I have a great instructor though. He doesn't get angry, or disappointed, or impatient at all. If anything, it's me that gets annoyed at myself. ESPECIALLY when I stall. Or do something stupid - which often occurs.
Like this lesson, I seemed to have the brain capacity of a 5 year-old:
"Ok, so we're just going to turn right at the next road, so check your mirrors and indicate right".
"Um, Nicola, that's left. We're going RIGHT".
I know. In my defence, it was 8am and my brain was still waking up. Shush.
Another fabulous thing that I did twice today was stall. Both of which had about 100 cars waiting behind me. Lovely. Ironically, the reason I stall is because I rush to make sure that I don't annoy everyone behind me. My instructor always tells me to take my time, and not to worry, but its kinda hard at times. Today, when I stalled at a set of traffic lights, I could practically HEAR everyone groan like, "urrrggghhh, god ‘sake, now Jackie/Lisa/Bob is gonna be pissed off at me for being late at that meeting/launch/deadline". (I took three seconds to move after the stall ok?!). Everyone seems to give you evils too. *sigh*
One thing I love about driving is 5th gear. Vrrrrrummm - the sound is pretty cool. I'm still a bit cautious about driving anywhere over 60mph on a dual carriage way, but gimme time.
I also love how my instructor waves at any other learner driver that comes near us. It's like they have some sort of telepathic connection, "Hi Peter!" "Hi Steve" "How's the wife?" "She's good thanks!" "Bathroom decorating done yet?" "Almost, give it a week!"....(and then my instructor is usually cut off due something stupid I've done on my behalf, like freak out when a bird won't MOVE out of the road - they like the adrenaline rush, I think, those darn daredevil pidgins).
Reversing is a weird one. I've done the "turn in the road" manoeuvre (previously called a 3 point turn), and the reversing part was a bit daunting at first. For a start, moving backwards was like, "AH, I'm going to hit something - please don't be a person, not a person". Being new the whole thing like me, it seems hard to actually SEE out the back of the car, and the curb.
"Ok, don't hit the curb Nicola, go slowwwllyyy".
I didn't hit the curb, but with amount of pressure I put on the brake pedal, I'm surprised my instructor didn't feel nauseous.
Despite all this, I quite like driving. It's a fun challenge, and of course, a vital skill nowadays. I think what most daunting is the amount of responsibility that comes with it, but also the freeeddoommm. No-more parent taxi service, WOO.
I'll be the female version of Lewis Hamilton soon. (Or not, but whatever).