The MINI adventure (part T)

Posted: August 13, 2011 in About Me

It was the usual Tuesday afternoon, other than the fact that it was the school holidays and my driving lesson had been brought forward by a few hours, everything seemed normal. Infact it was normal. I don’t want to be building up any anticipation that anything out of the ordinary had or was about to happen as that is not the case at all. Far from it.

 

So it was 3.30pm. Time for my lesson. As usual I was looking forward to it. The thought of getting behind the wheel on the open roads (of the city centre), feeling the wind rushing through my hair as we drove (it’s not a soft top, nor do we hit speeds higher than 50mph during my lessons and more importantly I have a shaved head) always brings a small smile to my face. Unusual I know. I am told that I rarely smile, but I do….honest!

So it all started in the usual manner. Mirrors. Signal. Let’s get gone (the saying of mhy driving instructor)

There is ampful banter between us as we drive along the roads. Usually from me ensuring that the information he is filling my somewhat unfocused brain with is correct, up to date and accurate. It’s just part of my nature. Not to mention the fact that we go anywhere I seem to have a story to tell. For which he ribs me. But,, I had taken on borad his parting comment of our last lesson…

“right, seriously now. We can do serious in a lesson, you do know that. Your concentration span is what lets you down. We need to cut short on the information that you share with me and your questioning of MY job. I know it’s hard to swallow, not literally, metophorically speaking, but in the politest way you need to shut the f*ck up and concentrate on driving. You totally f*ck the simplest things up when your gob is going faster than the 50mph speed limit we are driving in. Plus mirrors are there to help! use them! BUT use them BEFORE you slow down, stop, move lanes. Theyre not there to check out the guy you spotted on the right hand side, looking at the view from both angles, but it was a mighty fine one. Remember this. I will come down on you hard if you keep this up. Do you hear me? Are you listening? Well other than that how do you feel it went?”

To which I answer without fail ‘alright’. I mean lets not go overboard. Let’s not give anything away or share how I really think it went. No the one word, ‘alright’, seems to cover all angles and here the lesson ends!

So back to this Tuesday. There we were in an area that we hadn’t been in before, sat at the side of the road getting the usual pep talk before starting my 3rd mock practical exam (mine is coming up very soon. The real one) and off we went. All was going well until I started taking junctions in second gear, forgetting to check the mirrors unless someone on the pavement caught my eye and a near misjudgement of the parrallell park where the car, if I had carried on going backwards, most likely would have needed replacement alloy wheels, wheel arch and the poor innocent mother and toddler behind us scraping off the rear bumper. (I personally, at first, didnt see what the big issue was while I sat there behind the wheel being screamed at for nearly writing off the car…..slight drama queen, maybe?) So after sitting here for a further 5 minutes during the lecture on safe driving it was time to start again.

 

I can see that this blog doesn’t really paint the best picture of me as a driver, but I can honestly say, and I think my driving instructor would too, that usually I am a good driver. I am aware and can handle the car on the road. Just on this occassion it all seemed to go a little Pete Tong!!

The chat was over and we resumed. The next issue was soon within sight. Police were lined along the street we were about to take due to the anticipation of further rioting after that seen on the streets of Liverpool on the Monday evening. Cars were waiting at the junction and along I pulled. ‘follow the road ahead’ came the instruction. Personally I would have preferred this instruction on approach to the junction so I had time to prepare rather than at the point where the car was at the front of the queue on my side and prior to me making the decision of where we were heading. Luckily for him he had matched my choice so all was well. The road being a crossroads and a car on the road opposite waiting to turn right which had pulled up to the junction before me sat waiting………..and waiting and so did I. You see for some reason I was under the impression that if a car at the junction opposite had arrived there before I had then they had right of way. This also has been varified by a number of friends who seemed to think this is the case but according to my instructor this is WRONG!!

This is his explanation…

“This is important this is. You confused people. They did’nt know what you were doing and neither did I, but thats not unusual for me. Regularly I don’t know what you are doing, but in this case it’s important that we focus on the other road users. So. You tell me who had right of way at that junction. We are looking at the car opposite wishing to turn right out of their road and you who was wishing to cross the ‘A’ road onto the ‘B’ road straight ahead. Who is it, them or you?”

To which I am sure you have already guessed I replied ….. ‘erm……..me, no, erm……them’

This kind of in a way didn’t go down too well, not overly sure why at first. I explained my belief that they had arrived first so this gave them priority. I now know it doesn’t. It was expalined to me…

“Imagine the crossroads the other way, who has priority?, thats right you would, so because you are going straight across the main road into the side road you have priority over the car or the van or the bus that is wishing to turn right out of the road opposite. Let’s look at a different example now. If you wanted to turn right and the other car coming the opposite way wanted to turn right then who now has the priority to turn first?…..NO. thats not right. nobody does as you are both wanting to turn to your right crossing the main road, so nether have it and it’s then down to judgement and eye contact. Lots of. You need to make eye contact with the other driver and then you will know who is going to turn first. OK?” …………………………absolutely. Clear as mud. Thanks!

At this point I thought it best to abandon the mock practical and spend the rest of the lesson just driving around and checking out my manovures. My brain was full and to be honest I was no longer in the mood to continue with the mock.

Then came the words…

Let’s get gone.

 

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