August 12, 2016

Licence To Kill: Parental Guidance

Welcome back to my ongoing tale of woe, dear friends. If you have not been following, I am have been in an on/off relationship with my provisional driving licence for about a year now.

As I am currently living at home, the option of driving the maternal car arose. A thirteen year old car with a few scrapes and bumps was a far more desirable learning vehicle than S.O.’s Audi (his self-proclaimed real BAE). And what could be more fun than getting a parent to teach you how to drive? Getting two parents to teach you how to drive! At the same time! With conflicting views on everything! Yaaayy!

Once we overcame the roundabout left lane dispute, we had to tackle the obstacle of Papa Bear confusing his lefts and his rights. Hilarious when he gestures right and means left and we all have a good chuckle. Not so hilarious in the town square when he flips the indicator the other way, the car conks and the car behind you beeps and there are pedestrians everywhere and you’re cursing blindly in front of a church. A moment’s silence.

‘You know you said left, right?’
‘Oh, did I? I’m so sorry!’

I should point out that Papa Bear is quite a good teacher and has the patience of numerous saints. His only flaw is repeated instructions. ‘Into third now…into fourth…OK, clutch and brake.’ I was obviously going to clutch and brake, we are home now and there is a wall in front of us.  It was Mama Bear I was worried about. The joke that I will kill us all has been echoed in this house repeatedly over the past few weeks. My stint at Christmas saw her suggest to Dad that he simply get out of the passenger seat and take the wheel in the middle of a busy street. She also deemed it appropriate to shout ‘STOP!’ at a junction when he said ‘Go!’


Alas, I was pleasantly surprised. As a sole passenger, Mama Bear takes a slightly different approach. She prefers to sit quietly, muttering 10 Hail Marys, and upon reaching our narrow driveway, a sharp intake of breath and a firm grasp on both the headrest and the seat belt. But that’s all! I’ve been informed by well-travelled drivers that this is typical Irish Mammy behaviour, no matter the licence.

My big issue is reversing. I cannot reverse. Reversing is hard. Note also that you will never learn to reverse with the following instructions:

  1. Passenger saying ‘To me…now to you…now back to me…to me…to you (Chuckle Brothers style)
  2. Passenger simply grabbing the wheel and turning it themselves (a firm favourite)
  3. Passenger saying it’s just the same as steering forward. IT’S NOT.

While all my friends are skilfully reversing into tiny car parking spots, I am reversing into permanent fixtures. In a recent unfortunate incident in my own driveway, I managed to avoid reversing into Pop Mobile, the house, and also the gate, but alas, the Galway flag did not make it. She lay there broken on the grass, her poor timber frame snapped in two by my recklessness. Pray for the flag, guys. And stay indoors for several months.

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