A two hour driving lesson has just been completed. By me. It was as nail-biting and terrifying as you could imagine.
Some months ago I had a lesson with the chattiest man ever invented. It caused untold stress and anxiety as I was trying to block out his relentless babble and focus on the road. His daughter, his customers, his wife, his favourite food. On and on it went. And then some more. He was the Duracell Bunny of banter. It was excruciating.
So hard was I concentrating that I missed certain important phrases. (I don’t think he shrieked ‘Oh no, we’re going to die’, but please don’t quote me on that.)
I had plans to continue lessons with the guy, as he had basically put me behind the wheel of the car and let me off. Why I was expecting some gentle persuasion and hand-holding and fanning of my fevered brow, I don’t know. Clearly the best way to learn to drive, is to – you know – drive. Maybe the incessant chatter was effective. When you are driving, life threatening distractions are around every corner.
‘Oh look, what a pretty cat…’ SPLAT!
In any case, he was having a fortnight’s holiday, immediately followed by my summer break. So we never scheduled a follow up lesson.
I knew however that I’d need to get back in the saddle again. If I ever intend to get my driving license before retirement age, then I need to sit a minimum of twelve, one hour lessons with a certified instructor before I am allowed to sit a test.
Summer is over. It was time to take the bull by the horns and get educated.
I decided to try a different instructor – one who was available at a more humane hour than eight o’clock on a Saturday morning.
The lesson was this afternoon.
He picked me up at my house in his luminous green learner’s car.
He drove me to Finglas. Amazingly he explained what each button was for. And what the clutch does (don’t ask me what – it’s still a bit of a mystery). And how to change gears. And how to brake.
Only then was I allowed to switch on the ignition.
And with a great deal of spluttering (from both myself and the car) did we take off.
I was slightly flummoxed when he pressed the brake and told me that he needed to drive the drive. What had I done? Was it something I had said.
Nothing as it turns out. He had been overwhelmed by an urgent and pressing need to wee and needed to locate some facilities pronto.
I choose to believe that this was poor toilet planning on his part. He teaches people even more incompetent than I am. Of that I am certain.
In what seemed like a minute the two hour lesson was over.
We penciled in another lesson next week. And he told me that he is applying for my driving test on my behalf in December. He believes that a looming deadline is the speediest way to learn.
I guess it will be January before I next possess some fingernails.