Linking up an earlier post with My Home Truths for I Must Confess. A little late, but better late than never as they say.
I Must Confess: I am a 41 year old P-Plater.
As I am now the mature (ie over the hill) age of 41, you could be forgiven for assuming I am an experienced driver. Wrong. Embarrassingly, I am in fact, still a P-Plater.
At age 16, when most adolescents are clamouring for independence and consequently a driver's licence as a means to that independence, it simply never even occurred to me. Then again, it never occurred to me to have a crush on Jon Bon Jovi, like most girls my age either, so I guess I really was an odd one.
At age 21, it did somewhat belatedly dawn on me that perhaps I ought to get moving on it. So I dutifully procrastinated for another two years before finally obtaining my learner's licence at age 23. Then I began driving lessons.
Nervously, I approached the car in trepidation on my first lesson. There she was. The Instructor From Hell. This woman would have scared Satan. A miserable, hard faced bitch who proceeded to chain smoke throughout my lesson.
She would occasionally remove the cancer stick to snort with derision at my (lack of) driving skills. I turned left when she said right. Right when she said left. Went too fast. Then, too slow. Got muddled at roundabouts. Terrified, changing lanes.
Let's not even talk about reverse parking. Even the most competent drivers struggle with this one. Try doing it as a novice driver under Satan's supervision. I lost count of how many times I hit the curb while she sat scornfully puffing cigarette smoke in my face. I couldn't say anything. I was too shy. She was too scary.
Mrs Satan had no mercy however, and promptly booked my test, before I was ready, eager to be rid of me and my nervous driving.
Uncaring, she booked it again. Fail again.
"You're hopeless," she informed me bitterly, echoing the nagging voice in my head, "you'll never pass." At this stage, getting a driver's licence was the equivalent of sprouting wings from my back and flying. Impossible. In my mind anyway.
Third time. With these helpful thoughts swirling in my head, it was just as Mrs Satan predicted.
So humiliated was I by my hatrick of failures I gave up and put it all firmly in the too hard basket, never to be spoken of again. There it remained for a good 12 years.
Then, I started seeing a counsellor during a particularly stressful period for our family, when Micky Blue Eyes had cancer (that's a whole other story). She prodded me into action and I finally got my learner's licence again.
Micky Blue Eyes, obviously deciding that once you've beaten cancer, nothing is scary anymore, happily took me out for some lessons. The 'happily' part was rather short lived. After several arguments, nearly leading to divorce and an alarming incident where I hit the accelerator instead of the brake nearly smashing into our front gate and into the back of the old 1961 EK Holden that had been in Mick's family since it was brand new (sadly, now departed), I once again booked an instructor.
Fortunately this one wasn't scary, even managing to smile and be encouraging. I plodded along to lessons getting closer to sprouting my wings. Then, I was also Up The Duff again. Another tragedy struck. I lost the baby at 19 weeks. Suddenly, driving didn't seem that important to me.(That's a whole other story).
Some months later, I managed to pull myself from an abyss of grief, and attempted my driving test.
Second try. I did it! I finally sprouted wings!
The first time I drove the car by myself, it nearly felt like it. It was only a short trip to the local shops, but I came home, triumphant, beaming. I pulled up and flew to the front door, exhilarated. Then abruptly, I stopped, deflated, like a popped balloon. People your age have been driving for years, the nasty voice in my head informed me. What a fool! I felt small and pitiful.
I shouldn't have though. Now that I know I have Aspergers, it has caused me to re-assess lots of things. Driving is one of them. No wonder I struggled with it. Lots of Aspie people do apparently. It just took me longer to grasp it. But I did. Now I have officially sprouted wings and flown. Something I need to remind myself whenever I am facing things I think I can't do or cope with.
Just don't ever ask me to reverse park however. Despite finally acing it in my test I've never attempted it again since.