Getting over myself

Failing my driving test wasn’t the end of the world.

comment1D-day has arrived. A year of hard training, extreme precision, and unfettered diligence is about to pay off. It’s not cross-country I’m talking about this time. I am going to pass my driving test. First time round. No problem. I’m confident, I’m cocky, I can drive. Sure, I’ve been doing it for a year. The only damage was a scratch. Nobody died. Therefore, I shall pass. I have no choice really. I can’t afford to sit the test twice and the shame would be too much. But, as I learned yesterday, there are unforeseen benefits to be had from failure.

Strike one: an oral exam on the rules of the road. Nobody told me I had to do this? Why on earth do we need to know the traffic signs to pass? They are hardly relevant.

Strike two: driving down a one way street. Pro-tip: don’t do it, it’s illegal. Needless to say there was a sign telling me as much, which I didn’t see. But either way, as mentioned in strike one above, I didn’t know the rules, so the sign would not have saved me from this destiny. In my defence, though, I did a nifty little reverse turn back around the corner. Too bad that didn’t get me any brownie points.

Strike three: I knew at this stage that the game was lost, but I was tortured, having to finish the test anyway. I sailed through the roundabouts, did some slick over the shoulder checks before moving off and even managed to drive on the main road and not hurt anyone. But alas, I came to a narrow little left-hand turn. At this point I should mention that I drive my mom’s seven-seater Citroen C3, which I refer to as “The Truck”. It has a large front, and an even larger rear-end. This tight little corner just wasn’t happening for me and I ended up mounting the kerb for the first time in my life. Maybe if I hadn’t messed up at the second strike, I would have actually tried, but at this stage I was beyond hope and beyond caring.

Numerous walks of shame were made after the ordeal. The first, back to the centre, silently following the solemn examiner, who exchanged grim looks with a colleague. The second, back out of the centre to the car, where I tried my best to hold in my optical fluids. To worsen matters, as I drove off illegally, even more illegal then after having failed the test, the colleague of my examiner stared knowingly at me. I proceeded to drive past the Garda station, but thought better of it. The third walk of shame was into my mom’s workplace, a hospice. I walk in, tears rolling down my face, to be observed by the very kind nurses. Such was the state of me that any passer-by would have assumed that I learned of the death of a family member, not failed a silly test. How did I manage to fail? Me, of all people? I thought I was god’s gift to the roads of Ireland. I go to college; I’m not stupid. Why do bad things happen to good people? Oh the shame. There go my Christmas road trip plans. 100 euro and a whole weekend of work are down the drain.

I was ushered into the kitchen and quickly handed tea and a scone to ease the pain. I stopped thinking I was going to die and ended up having a nice little morning being in umar na haimléise. I actually got a lift home, being spared a 40 minute walk through the icy park, and was instructed to go back to bed by dear mammy, where I continued to wallow in despair at the fact that my life was officially over. To worsen the sting, the kettle broke.

After a marathon of Game of Thrones, I decided it was time to start getting over myself. I returned to social media after an extended two-hour absence. What on earth could I have missed? Most people are still in bed at 12pm. When I log onto Facebook, my life is changed for the better! I have won a glorious competition run by the local Spar for a free chicken fillet roll and a can of Coke. I realise it has been years since I last tasted the sacred delicacy and, as I had just begun to get hungry, I bounced down with a new lease of life to claim my coveted prize. Naturally, this caused public outrage. “It’s a fix!” they cried, their jealousy taking the better of them. It is true, I have inside contacts in said Spar, but I know that no corruption was involved in the running of the competition. Though I offered my can of Coke as a peace offering to a disappointed competitor.

Happy out with my roll, I march on over to the coffee-shop across the way where I work, to inform them of my good and bad news. They laugh when I tell them how I failed. They are not mean people, they just vividly remember a very recent experience when I struggled to parallel park opposite the shop, having to ask my colleague to park “The Truck” for me, while customers watched and laughed. I dont know what was more funny, me standing on the side of the road, drowning in incompetency, or a young, blonde, 24-year-old male in a bright pink t-shirt parking what can also be referred to as a “mom mobile”. Luckily, my day was about to get better. Crepe making lessons were in progress, so I did the honours of “testing” out the new batter.

I then rock on into college for my first lecture of the day at 4pm. Life is pretty good when the day starts at 4pm. I am greeted by love, hugs, and plenty of chocolate. The food baby grows, my heart glows, the pain lessens, and to top off a fantastic end to a horrendous morning, plans were made to travel to Toronto next year. I arrive home and my Daideo observes me through his specs. I am unsure of whether he disapproves of my failure, or my diva-like reactions. Either way, he pledges to help fund my travels, despite my resistance. This is definitely not linked to the failure – he isn’t the type of guy that buys happiness for his grand-children – but it was certainly well timed.

Overall, I went to bed quite a happy girl. Bad things that happened to me today: I failed my driving test. Good things that happened to me today: scones, tea,  a morning in bed, an excuse not to study and watch Game of Thrones instead, winning a chicken roll and coke, a free crepe, a commiseratory chocolate bar, more chocolate, and a flight abroad thrown in. Maybe I should fail my test more often.

Bláithín Sheil

Bláithín Sheil is a final year Law and French student. After a year abroad in Strasbourg, she feels more French than Irish. Loves to run. She is the Deputy Comment Editor of Trinity News.