October 2003

August 1997

Rocked up to the RTA in North Sydney for my Learners Test, feeling rather confident (and cocky) that I was going to pass with full marks. Decided to do a trial run before taking on the real thing.

Question 27: What does ‘No Right Turn’ mean?

a) Do not turn right
b) Do not turn left
c) You must turn right

What kind of a spastic question is this?

Managed to get question wrong.

February 1999

Failed driving exam.

Apparently, driving too slowly constitutes a hazard on the road and signalling 200m before one turns is misleading and just plain stupid.

March 1999

Failed driving exam again.

I was cautiously driving along at 60km/hr around 9am in the morning when the examiner suddenly posed the question: “Isn’t this a school zone?”.

I looked up and there it was – a big fat red School Zone sign that I had never ever seen before.

Crap.

April 1999

License finally obtained! ‘Third time lucky’, as the annoying cliche goes. So excited that I would’ve leaned over to peck the examiner’s cheek, save for the fact that she was a woman. I think.

July 1999

Momentarily forgot footing whilst on the road.

Left, brake. Right, accelerate.

October 1999

Completed contract law assignment 40 minutes before it was due to be handed in at uni. Didn’t help that I lived 50 minutes drive away from uni. Drove ‘quickly but safely’ (paradox of the century) and managed to arrive 5 minutes before deadline.

Decided to loan Sandra’s carspot. Pole on the right seemed precariously close. Somehow the voice in my head convinced me that I would make it.

Voice in my head turned out to be wrong.

Body of car was only half-way into the spot when I heard the imminent high-pitched scratching sound. Leaned out of the window and groaned. Pole had successfully embedded itself into the right side of my car. Or more correctly, I had successfully driven into the pole. Parents were not going to be pleased.

Left car in precarious position and raced to the law building to submit the stupid assignment. Met up with Kenny and implored him to assist me in extricating my car.

Back at the carspot, Kenny cacked himself at the rather hilarious sight of my car ‘stuck’ to the pole. Unfortunately, neither of us could work out how to ‘unstick’ it.

Suddenly, a man who had been watching us from his balcony (scary) came down to assist. He suggested that we remove the pole. Kenny and I looked at the man, then at the pole, then at the carport that the pole was obviously supporting.

Somehow removing the pole didn’t appear to be a viable option.

As I desperately attempted to come up with a polite refute of the suggestion (after all, didn’t want to risk offending some strange man), another unknown man (Stranger No. 2) suddenly appeared from nowhere (note to self: should play damsel in distress more often – not). Before I could utter anything, Stranger No. 2 had slid into the driver’s seat of my car and had started the engine. Within five seconds and three turns of the steering wheel, he managed to remove my car from the dreaded pole as Stranger No. 1, Kenny and I watched on in awe.

I was so ecstatic that I felt inclined to give Stranger No. 2 a big hug. Fortunately, managed to restrain myself. Instead, thanked both Stranger No. 2 and Stranger No. 1 incessantly before taking off with Kenny into the sunset.

November 1999

Attempted to reverse parallel park in the city. Gave up after two minutes, what with the line of cars queuing up to get past. Spent next 30 minutes searching for ninety-degree angle parking.

Must learn how to reverse parallel park.

March 2000

Needed to pick up four tubs of ice-cream today for lunch-time barbeque at uni. Cassie kindly offered to navigate so the two of us took off around 11am and headed for Surry Hills.

As we drove along South Dowling Road, I was suddenly informed by Cassie that I needed to turn right at the next light. On reflex, I cut into the lane on my right.

Silence.

“What are you doing?”

“You told me to turn right at the next light.”

“But this is the oncoming traffic lane.”

Mental freeze. Sure enough, the double white lane looked a tad out-of-place appearing on the left of my car. Immediately cut back into the lane on my left.

Glanced over at Cassie and noticed that her face had gone a somewhat disturbing shade of green.

Must give Cassie an extra big bowl of ice-cream.

May 2001

Offered to pick up Kenneth and Jean from Chinatown. Turned right off Goulburn Street onto Sussex Street. Wondered why everyone was staring at my car. Didn’t think my Toyota Corolla Seca was that hot. Suddenly realised that all the cars parked on the road were facing my direction.

Crap.

Performed three-point turn in record time and mentally wished I’d never gotten my license. Decided never to pick anyone up from the city again. Decided I needed to start paying attention to road signs.

March 2002

Again drove straight into a one-way road in Chinatown. This time, didn’t notice that the arrow markings were all pointing in my direction until I had traversed almost the entire road. Should’ve known better when I saw a man staring (yet again) at my car (note to self: people staring at car – not a good sign).

Decided it wasn’t my fault this time. The RTA was clearly the negligent party in not erecting any prominent One Way signs. Not my fault.

April 2002

Noticed two big No Entry signs marking the entrance of the one-way road, both of which had completely escaped my notice two nights ago.

Well, perhaps the RTA needs to consider making bigger road signs with fluorescent colours and flashing neon lights. What do we pay taxes for anyway?

October 2002

Was given free lesson today on How To Fill Your Petrol Tank (Properly) by the man at my local petrol store. He must’ve taken pity on me after I’d only managed to fill my tank with 0.897L of petrol despite having stood there holding the petrol nozzle for five minutes – all the while attempting to look like I knew what I was doing. Obviously, the petrol guy was not fooled.

Note to self: Never coming back here again.

December 2002

Attempted to fill my car with petrol on the way to Angela’s place. This time, the nozzle simply refused to go in. After some rather embarassing and futile wrestling with the inanimate object, Emily – although not a driver herself – had the common sense to suggest that “perhaps you’re using the wrong petrol”.

Sure enough, a backward glance confirmed that I was indeed attempting to fill my tank with… Diesel.

Managed to maintain composure as I swapped my Diesel nozzle for the correct one.

Note to self: Another petrol station off the list.

October 2003

Still struggling with petrol nozzles.

Still incapable of performing reverse parallel parking.

Still on the road.

Still at large.

Coffee or… coffee?

Just last week, Rick showed me one of his prized possessions – his mini percolator.

According to Rick, this percolator produces one gigantic mugful of pure coffee and apparently he consumes the entire dosage every single morning.

What’s more, he purchases an additional two shots of expresso without fail around morning tea each day – just in case the equivalent of six expresso shots that he has in the morning doesn’t manage to pervade every single blood vessel and cell in his body.

I, on the other hand, uphold the view that coffee should be taken weak with lots of milk and heaps of froth.

That way, one consumes less caffeine (which is a GOOD thing) whilst reaping the benefits of calcium and all the other really cool stuff that one finds in milk.

No doubt, of course, Rick is heaps more productive at work than I am.

Caffeine effect aside, one shot of expresso is gulped in a matter of seconds but a mugful of frothy creamy capuccino? One can play with it for at least ten minutes without getting bored!

Which is exactly what I do, needless to say. A great distraction to an otherwise tedious working day…