She walked towards me with an unreadable look on her face and sat down. ‘Did you get it?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know, he is checking the mistakes I made,’ she replied with a slight grimace. Then she proceeded to shake her legs up and down in nervous anticipation.
Trying to keep it light, I laughed and told her to stop jiggling. Her face looked alert, sombre and dismayed just as her name was called out. Already on her feet, she ran to the glass window. I remained behind to let her savour the outcome independently, irrespective of whether the news was good or bad.
I couldn’t help smiling when I saw her dancing up and down and could see her grinning profile. Yessss! My daughter just passed her driving test!
I glanced across at a girl who had her fingers hovering above her mobile phone and saw that she was smiling broadly between my daughter and me. She was sharing in our delight and I smiled back.
Walking over, I heard and saw the Examiner going over the test results and was gratified to see my daughter listening attentively and nodding.
She then had to complete an eye chart reading. While the man completed the paper work, I reached out, congratulated and hugged her. Needless to say, our grins were wide as we embraced. Just as we broke away, I noted that people around were smiling at us and it warmed my heart.
My daughter then had to quickly seat herself to have her photo taken. We barely started chatting when she was handed her new licence.
She walked out on air and happily exchanged her L plates for the new red P plates. I quickly got my phone out and took a picture of the red P proudly propped in its place on the car. This happy scenario was a sharp contrast to what my daughter experienced a few days earlier.
Three days before
Earlier in the week, she had to search online for a motor registry where she could do her driving test and found one a few suburbs away. Unfortunately, she lost the spot while trying to locate and use her credit card and the next available test was at a beachside suburb almost an hour’s drive away. In desperation, she booked the test.
To ensure familiarity with the area, I suggested she book a lesson with the local driving school from that suburb. We drove over on a hot day and she duly had her lesson. She felt gratified when the instructor told her that she was a good driver but was dismayed when the instructor told her she couldn’t hire her car for the test as it was being utilised all day and all week for regular driving lessons.
Taking the news in her stride, she decided on her original plan to use Gertrude, her old car for the test. The Friday morning of her test soon dawned and we arrived at the registry with ample time to spare.
She hopped into her car while the Examiner was inspecting it and proceeded to follow the instructions on testing the headlights, the indicators and brake lights. All worked perfectly! The man then walked around and firmly stated that he could no longer test her as the front driver’s side, plastic, blinker cover had a broken piece the size of a penny on it. The inside cover was still intact and the lights worked but the fact that the outer cover was chipped, meant that the car was considered not ‘roadworthy.’
Walking back to the motor registry with dignity, she managed to maintain the façade until she rang and told her father. Wiping away her tears, she then proceeded inside for the formalities.
When we walked back outside soon after, a tanned, bald-headed man stopped us. Apologising for intruding, he asked how she went with her test. Taken-aback, she relayed the problem. The man looked incredulous and then astounded us by offering his car for her test. Still surprised, she thanked him but declined the offer. He nevertheless insisted and suggested she rush back in and let the Examiner know that she could still do the test-driving.
Wavering, she looked at me for confirmation and then asked him outright if he was covered by insurance should there be an accident. He magnanimously waved his hands, reassured us that he was covered and again, urged her to speak to the Examiner before he completed the cancellation paperwork.
While she hurried inside, I quickly asked him if he owned an automatic or a manual. He said he drove a manual. My daughter had been practicing on an automatic so we quickly marched inside to tell her and to re-cancel the test. He apologised to the Examiner and we walked back outside.
I have to interrupt this narrative by telling you that the comedy of errors did not end there.
Just then, the Examiner appeared and told us that the guy who was next in line for a test-drive had arrived very early and that he would take him for his test in the time allotted for my daughter and she could then do the test 45 minutes later and only if she could buy the necessary cover from a spares-part motor shop to ensure her car was roadworthy. Overwhelmed, my daughter agreed.
The bald-headed man then pointed to a motor shop around the corner. All three of us raced over but soon learnt that the shop carried only late model parts, whereas my daughter’s car was quite old.
Undaunted, our knight then offered to give my daughter a quick lesson in driving his manual car. She gratefully took up his offer.
She managed to progress from comical bunny-hops to smooth three-point turns within 20 minutes and I proudly praised her from the back seat of the car.
Reverse-parking however, was more challenging. She spent the rest of the time trying to perfect it. Disheartened, we dashed back to the motor registry, where she told the Examiner the woeful tale of not finding the required car part and that she also did not feel confident in driving the manual car.
We thanked the wonderful, generous gentleman and walked around to her car. The $110- parking fine under the windscreen wiper capped off a disappointing day.
For those who are interested, my daughter did manage to purchase a replacement cover for her headlight and the aforementioned driving test she passed, was booked with another registry less than an hour away. Fortunately, although the weather was drizzly, the air was cooler and more comfortable.
Going for her test despite the many hiccups and passing it a few days later, meant more to her than it would ordinarily have done so.
© Wendy Robinson 2014
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. ~ Zig Ziglar