The way I see it, the process of acquiring a driver’s license can be a very stressful one—yeah maybe even TRAUMATIC in some cases.
I remember a police officer telling me that when he was ready to take a particular young lady for her road test, she was so nervous that every time she started the vehicle and got ready to move off, her foot was shaking so hard on the clutch, that the car would cut out. He eventually had to tell her to go home, get herself together and come back another day.
Now I mentioned road test but I went a little ahead of myself.
I know a guy who sat his written exams, no fewer than ten times.
Well I newa!
What about my personal experience?
Well, I sat my written test and passed it at one shot. Thank God but I had to go on the road three times before I got my license.
I think I did well enough to get it on my first try, if I can say so myself but the police officer was extremely harsh.
Can you imagine? I was so careful to impress that when I was entering a main road, I looked left, then right, then left again before I proceeded. I blew my horn as approached every corner. I changed gears at regular intervals to demonstrate that I could shift them when I needed to. I mean, I went out of my way to impress.
I successfully did the three point turn—make that two three point turns; stop and start in the hill, without rolling backwards. I mean, I did it all.
When we got back to the Police Station, the officer informed me that I had failed. I was nonplussed.
Now hear the reasons: You blew your horn too much; you stayed too long in the intersection and you changed your gears too often.
Well I newa!
The second time that I went back; I had to borrow a vehicle from former top cop Liburd, as mine developed a problem, the day before the test.
His clutch was a lot sharper than mine was and so it inadvertently cut out during the three point turn. I knew I had failed….
The third time, I could not get anyone to come with me as a qualified driver. Everybody was busy. My mother volunteered to come along. Now I held my breath for the entire period. You see my mother had gotten her license many years prior but had only driven about twice since then. Even though she renewed the license every year, at that time I don’t believe she could have even differentiated between the clutch and the gas pedals.
However, she had a valid license and she came along as my official driver.
The Police officer set out to fail me. He was a young constable from St.Kitts. I think Martin was his surname.
He made me do two three point turns and about three hill starts. He made me drive through Charlestown on that traffic congested day and I came through with flying colours.
He was obviously not happy. Instead of telling me to return to the Police Station, he asked me to drive to the back of the Charlestown Health Center and made me stop in the middle of that slight incline. I think they call that place Featherbed Alley or something like that.
He told me to reverse without moving an inch forward and if I did I would have failed. I nervously pulled up the handbrakes, balanced the clutch and the gas pedals and moved backwards beautifully.
I was about to stop and then I saw a slight grin on his face. I did not stop then because I realized just in time that had I stopped, he would have said that he did not tell me to stop.
I continued onto the main road, crossing to the right and then maneuvering back to the left. As we approached the corner next to the Maude Cross Prep school, I looked at him again expecting him to stop me and saw that smile again.
I proceeded right in taking the corner and then swung back left. He looked disappointed. I reversed all the way to Happy Hill Alley and he told me to make a left turn.
I again swung right and then maneuvered back to the left and continued to reverse. He finally told me to stop exactly in front of Brand’s Bakery. You could imagine that by that time my neck did not feel like it belonged to me!
He told me to drive to the Charlestown Police Station. I drove there and parked. He hustled out of the vehicle and there was that smile on his face again and it caused me to remember something. I hustled out of the vehicle and stood up on the sidewalk. He burst out laughing.
You see, I had heard that someone had remained behind the wheel after he had exited the vehicle and he had failed them because they did not have a license. Remember, my mother was in the back seat.
He went into the Police Station. I waited for about five minutes before he finally came to the door and signaled me to come.
‘You get your license,’ he said abruptly. My heart soared. Finally, I had made it!
I hope that nobody else would have to go through such horrors to get a driver’s license.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?