Peeling off My L's (1/3) | Peeling Off My L's (2/3)
He met me outside, checked that all my controls and indicators are working, then when he was already satisfied, got in the car and proceeded with my driving test. I was nervous but I was confident that I can do it. I got out successfully from the parking lot of VicRoads.
From VicRoads, he asked me to turn left to the main street. It was a busy street as it was close to a busy round-about. When I turned left, he commented that I did not leave a safe gap between me and the oncoming car leaving the round-about from my right and I was too slow to turn. However, he still asked me to continue and make a U-turn on the next U-turn slot. While I was already there waiting for my turn to do a U-turn, a bicycle came up and stopped too in my left. The man riding on it is also obviously doing a U-turn. When he felt that there was already enough safe gap, he made his turn. I gave way to him and waited again for a safe gap (well, what I reckon to be a safe gap) between me and the oncoming car. When I already felt it was safe to move on, I did.
“Unbelievable!”, said the old Indian man.
I initially thought that he was praising my driving prowess but apparently I did a critical error that warranted him to terminate my exam. He was basically shouting at me when he was telling me the error that I committed. A hushed ‘sorry’ was all that I was able to say.
He asked me to go to the farthest lane on my right so that I could turn right back to VicRoads. At that moment, I knew that I already failed the exam. I haven’t been out yet on the streets for 3 minutes and I already failed it! My heart was pounding so hard that time. I want to plead to him to give me another chance but seeing how stern he was, I did not do it anymore. I also knew that it would just fall on deaf ears and there was no point to argue with him a I could sense that he was very unforgiving.
He asked me to safely park on one of the slots in front of the entrance of VicRoads and before he got out told me to meet him inside. As I entered VicRoads, I saw Sarah look in my direction and I gave her the sad face. She mouthed “Why?” but the old, Indian man was already waiting for me in the counter so I dismissed Sarah’s question and approached him first.
He told me that I was unsuccessful as I failed to give way twice and that I should just book again my exam. He shoved a piece of paper to me with comments that I can’t even read. I actually felt like crumpling and throwing it back at him! Sarah approached, hugged me and told me that it was okay. I asked her if it is possible for me to book another exam today and she told me that I could and to approach one of the counters to check too if there is an available schedule today. Yes, I was wretched but I was more determined then to book another test and get it done with the soonest time possible. ♥
I fell in line, got a number and as my number was called, I approached one of the counters and asked her the earliest possible day that I can have another test. Unfortunately, the next schedule available for that branch is January. I asked her to look for other branches as I really do not care where to have my test. My driving lessons may had been based upon the fact that I’ll have my driving test in Sunshine (the branch where I was in then) but I also believe that John taught me so damn well that where I’ll have my test should be immaterial. She told me that there’s one in Carlton in December which is the closest open date. I told her that I’ll book it. I was already readying my payment when she excitedly told me that a slot has freed up the next day in another branch, which is Sunbury, at 920 am. Without thinking much, I said that I’ll book it. I really don’t care how far it was or how early, my only goal then was to have my test the soonest time possible.
After I secured the slot, I went back to Sarah and told her the details of my exam. She told me that Sunbury is a 40-minute drive from our place but we can work it out. She told me that she’ll just drive my car going to Sunbury tomorrow. I’ve also realized that 920 am is not the ideal time to have a test as school zones apply a reduced speed limit of 40 kph for vehicles between particular times during school days. In Victoria, that would be between 8 to 930 during the morning and 230 to 4 during the afternoon.
Anyway, those do not matter. I do believe that I can do it despite the odds! ♥
Since there’s nothing more that I can do but to just wait for tomorrow’s exam, we headed back home to drop my car back to the garage. Sarah went home while I hailed an Uber ride and headed straight to work. I wasn’t anymore able to practice that night.
The following morning, Sarah and I headed to Sunbury. It was both our first time to go there so we were not at all familiar with the route. We even had a hard time looking for the VicRoads branch while we are already in Sunbury as it was literally tuck at the back of a compound located along a not-so-busy service road. Good thing we were able to reach Sunbury 30 minutes before my scheduled exam so we had a lot of time to spare to look for it and the sun was shining brightly unlike the day prior. After 20 minutes of looking, we at long last found it! Alleluia! Well not really found it yet as we only saw a small signage along the service road that points to where VicRoads is. Nonetheless, I was super happy! At least we were already there. I only had almost 5 minutes left before my exam when I arrived in VicRoads.
As opposed to the Sunshine branch, the Sunbury branch is not at all that busy. It actually had a very relaxed vibe that is non-existent from the Sunshine branch. I was 2nd in line when I came in. When it was already my turn, I approached the VicRoads staff sitting behind the counter and told her of my appointment. She smiled, told me to just sit and wait for my name to be called.
Ten minutes later, another lady called my name up. I approached her in one of the counters. She introduced herself (her name also happens to be Sarah and she is my examiner), filled-out the form with me, did a quick eye test, explained some rules, reiterated that I’ll be doing my test during school times and wished me good luck. She even smiled at me after! I already love the people there! She asked me to proceed in the parking lot and wait for her in my car. ♥
After a while, she went out and we started with the exam. After all that has happened yesterday and the slight stress that we had to underwent through earlier today to find the branch, my nerves were heightened at that moment. This is it (again) and I cannot mess it up. So I took a deep breath instead, relaxed a little bit and vowed to just do my best. I also reminded myself to always give way however long it may took.
As the exam progressed, I became more and more relaxed. I just listened to her directions and do whatever it is that she wanted me to do as best as I could. It also helped that her voice was calming and that I haven’t heard any violent reactions from her just yet. Instead of a three-point turn, she asked me to complete a reverse-parallel parking, which thankfully I was able to do. She also asked me to drive in-and-out of primary and secondary roads for quite a few times. I did not notice at all the time until she asked me to turn left on the next street as we were already going back to VicRoads. Even though I was already nearing the end of the exam, I did not let my guard down up until I was able to properly park my car in one of the slots. After I was able to park it, she told me to meet her back inside and she went out of the car. That was the only time that I was able to completely relax.
I went back inside and waited for her to emerge behind the counter. After a while, she called up my name to which I quickly responded to by approaching the counter. I was holding my breath at that moment and when she told me “Congratulations, you passed the exam”, I was only able to utter “Thank you so much”. I was happy but not more so than I was relieved. All those time, effort and money I’ve spent had been worth it.
I was giddy during the ride back home. I told my husband and my family of the great news. Sarah, my friend, dropped me back home. I can’t thank her enough as this would not have been possible without her there.
I did not know that the most exciting but scariest part is that moment when I was already left to my own devices. There’s no mom, John or Sarah anymore to be with me in the car and guide me on the road. It was all just me. This realization only sank in while I was already driving my car to work for the first time while being caught up in the middle of a heavy downpour. That marked the beginning of my driving journey. Even though my emotions were then undergoing a bit of a tug-of-war, I was able to arrive safely to my destination and that little success assured me that I can do it and there’s nothing to worry about.