The MINI adventure (part U)

Posted: August 24, 2011 in About Me

Here I was again. Found myself sat in the black mini with the large ‘L’ sign on the roof. Ready to start the session of showing my instructor that I do listen, that I can do it and for no doubt at some stage a lecture from him. Usually indicated by the ‘pull over at a safe place, we need to talk’.

We did the usual right turn out of my road, but instead of the right turn down Leeds Street (which once again is his usual way) we headed straight across. This road brings back fond memories of my move into the city and the three-hour drive in the van with the broken clutch from St Helens. We passed the ‘chippy’ where the driver felt the necessity to stop for a spring roll, while I sat in the cab section of the van watching drug dealings happen in front of me. To say this is not the nicest of areas is a complete understatement. Why is it that my instructor insists on taking me to places like this? Or roads that are completely covered with speed bumps?

So we began.

It seemed to be a lesson about roundabouts. No joke. After completing six perfectly (not only in my eyes, but actually praised by my instructor…for once) we moved onto parallel parking. I hate this, and when I say hate I mean HATE!! I know how to do it. I know when to steer, but for some stupid reason I wait too long. The point comes where it’s time to turn. I stop. I think and then carry on just that one more rev! Why?? I know that it’s gone too far. I know that I have now made it that little bit harder for me to get into the space. I know, but I still do it! So here came the first ‘we need to talk’. Theres no point repeating it as I have said most of what he said and what I knew in the statement above. So we did it again, and once again I made the same mistake. And again we did it. And again. This seemed to be the night of just doing parallel parking and believe me this isn’t what I signed up for!!  Eventually I did three perfectly (in my eyes), not so perfectly (in his) but good enough that I would pass.

So we moved on. By this time it was getting dusk and came his bombshell statement, ‘I hate it when it’s night because it gets dark’. No shit there is there Sherlock!! I mean come on!

We pulled up in the ASDA car park and here it was time to do bay parking. One that I don’t mind doing as I think that I am quite shit hot on it. Only thing was that because I hadn’t done it since lesson two I had kind of forgotten what the stages and markers were, but there wasn’t a cat in hells chance I was going to ask him to remind me. No, I am not adding fuel to his fire to have ammunition to use against me. That’s how our driving relationship seems to work. If I forget something or do something wrong, he is there like a lion jumping on its prey, but do something right and there’s nothing. Nothing at all! But then they do say silence is golden…

The parallel park went just as I wanted it to go. I got all my points and got into that space without any worry. completely central. He even opened the door to check and I am taking the smile and the nod of the head as being a ‘well done, you have got that spot on’.

Off we headed. Back onto the open roads of speed bumps, 20mph limits and one way systems. ‘It’s right about now…’ came the next comment. We were actually sat in silence, which is a first as usually I have some tale to tell as we drive either about my day, the place we are driving or passing on my in-depth knowledge, but on this occasion there was nothing passing my lips. In fact I was quite enjoying the silence. He had finished ribbing me just after we had left the ASDA car park, which is another part of our routine, it was now all about the driving but more to the point what the hell did he mean, ‘it’s right about now…’

As you can imagine I asked. He knew that I would and that’s why at that point he didn’t elaborate on what he was trying to say. He was waiting to see how long it would be before my inquisitive would ask. (it took about 30 seconds). He smiled and said…

‘it’s right about now that you usually let it slip. Right about now that something comes over you and you get too cocky and confident behind the wheel and act as though you own the road. It’s right about now that you start to mess things up and become sloppy. It’s right about now it goes wrong. I’m not meaning to sound harsh but it’s true. Just watch. Let’s see when it is that it slips and it goes wrong. You know I am right and if you allow that to happen during your test then you are f**ked’. GREAT!! Fill me with confidence will you. But I knew what to do. I was going to prove him wrong. I WAS going to check the mirrors every time I slowed down. I WAS going to do ‘give ways’ in first, rather than my usual 2nd gear. I WAS going to break sooner on approach to traffic lights and not ride the clutch for as long as I had been. I WAS……

Oh SHIT!! In the midst of my ‘I WAS’ thought I had gone into auto pilot, arrived at the ‘give way’ messed up my feet and STALLED the bloody thing. No sooner had I got the car started again came the ‘see, I was right wasn’t I’ comment, to which I felt required no reply.

As for the rest of the lesson, it went well. I tried not to prove him right again with regards to being thoughtless in my process after being in the car for some time. The lesson passed and it was time to go home.

 

We parked up outside my apartment block and had the usual de-brief. I climbed out the car, pulled my jeans up, while he climbed out his side, removed the ‘L’ sign from the roof walked to the driver’s side while pulling up his jeans and parted with ‘what must those people watching us be thinking, both climbing out and pulling our jeans up. Imagine the thoughts running through their minds’ This, again, was an attempt at humour. It never seems to work for him. I see my lessons as a two-way process, yeah they primarily are about me learning to drive properly but at the same time I see it as my chance to help this guy with his humour. If only I wasn’t doing my side of the bargain for free, I could be saving myself a hell of a lot of money!!

‘So, see you Saturday at 3pm then? Have a good night…’

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