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Saturday, May 20, 2006


Driving test

My eldest is going for her driving test on my next day off (Tuesday). I shall be taking her down to the test centre in the family jalopy and hanging around for the next fifty minutes while she either rises to the occasion or gets shot down in flames. Poor girl is a bag of nerves, despite being a far better cage pilot (Biker slang for car driver) than half of my workmates. I will say this for her, she is a careful, although occasionally ditzy (She’s a blonde – what can I say?) driver who I am quite happy to let ferry me around with a minimum of supervision.

As she failed her last test for two errors of observation having had umpty-ump lessons from an expensive driving school, being short of cash she asked me to help her polish up her skills ready for the practical examination. As she has already passed her theory test with a 100% score, I said “No problem.”

One of the things her instructor suggested to help combat her pre-test nerves was to take herbal sedatives. Being the caring stepfather that I am; when she informed me of her intention to do so I winced heavily and said. “Bad idea lass. Bad idea.” Driving while under the influence – No, no, and thrice no. I dearly love my two stepchildren (Despite the occasional teenage outbursts and shouting matches) and try whenever feasible (Or when they will listen – which is not that often.) to steer them along a less hazardous path. Driving sedated is not only hazardous to yourself; it can also hurt others.
“Why?” Says eldest.
“Sedatives make you dopey and make it difficult to concentrate. You’d probably fail too. I’ve got a better idea.” I replied.
“What’s that?”
“Guess.” I tantalised.
“No, tell me.”
“Chocolate.” Said I.
“What?” She seemed confused.
“You heard me. Chocolate.”
“You’re joking!” She replied.
“Ten minutes before your test you eat half a small bar of Chocolate. It gives you a blood sugar boost and steadies you down. Let’s try it.”

So I took her to a service station and bought her a bar of chocolate, which she duly scoffed half of, waited ten minutes before I put her through her paces at the wheel. Had she taken her test there and then she would have sailed through. Her concentration and observation were spot on, control good, reversing fine; she didn’t stall once. I hardly had to say a word apart from give her directions. Not a single trace of the nerves that had plagued her driving half an hour before.

“Now comes the good bit.” I told her after she’d pulled into a particularly tight parking bay in a supermarket car park.
“What’s that?”
“You get to eat the rest of the chocolate as a reward for getting it right.”

I think she’ll pass on Tuesday. Praise God for positive reinforcement.


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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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