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Road to perdition..and nowhere...and hell

Smudge Jones makes a desperate appeal after nine test failures

Published on January 20th 2011.


Road to perdition..and nowhere...and hell

MY driving career has never gone to plan...and I’m only 22.

Like most boys, one of the first things I wanted to do on turning seventeen was to learn how to drive a car- a skill that would undoubtedly make me more popular with females and open up a world of discovery in which I could freely visit a drive-thru McDonalds whenever I wanted.

I left the vehicle making plans to never look at cars again. I decided to make a funeral pyre of my Corsa in the largest public space I could find. I was going to boycott McDonalds.

I even had a car, a baby blue Vauxhall Corsa that was a couple of years old and had been my Grandad’s until he died. I intended to pimp-out the Corsa with tacky neon lights and horrific accessories popular with seventeen year old boy racers.

Sadly this dream was never meant to be.

Five years and nine failed tests later, I’m still way off. Presently my baby blue Corsa is now promised to my eighteen year old brother. A toy he’s looking forward to filling with awful accessories.

On the plus side, I do get a fair bit of exercise walking to McDonalds.

I later learnt that I am also heavily dyspraxic, a disorder affecting co-ordination and balance, which has been attributed by many as to being one of the key reasons behind my repeat failure.

If there’s a condition which describes the inability to drive safely then I’ve got that as well.

My life behind a steering wheel has been doomed from the start. Less than an hour into my first lesson I almost killed myself and my instructor.

Somewhere in deepest, darkest Moston we approached a roundabout. Up to this point the debut lesson had gone swimmingly. Despite being a boy, I have never been that interested or impressed by cars, so I was relatively pleased when, as a novice, I’d managed to learn the basic components without too much bother.

But as we approached the roundabout, it all went wrong. The instructor sat up in his seat.

“OK, so we’re going to turn right at the roundabout.”

Also sitting up in my seat, I focused and followed my instructor’s orders to the letter. I turned right at the roundabout and into the on-coming traffic.

The instructor went white, gripped his steering wheel and slammed on the extra brake that he had on his side of the car. Coward.

I still reckon I was completely blameless. I’d never driven before and he’d said turn right at the roundabout. He didn’t specify that you had to go round it first.

Thinking back on this to add to the dyspraxia I may also have Asperger Syndrome. About two years ago I took my last test.

The memory makes me really bitter.

I’d already failed other tests both dramatically and un-dramatically, ranging from near Hollywood-style smash-ups to incidents which were debateable.My final test was not-even worthy of doubt.

In my heart of heart’s I’d felt it was a now or not-for-ages moment, so, with this in mind, and the adrenalin flowing, I channelled the pressure into one of the most perfect drives the world has ever seen.

Ever seen.

Whilst the examiner was filling out the form at the end, I was already planning on going home and sorting the insurance out on the car and getting straight to McDonalds.

“I’m sorry Mister Jones, but I am afraid to tell you that you’ve failed,” the mean-minded mealy-mouthed toad finally said.

My heart sank. I had two minor areas and one major area of failure. I was devastated.

“What was the major?”

“Well there was a moment when you left the indicator on for just a few seconds too long”

I’ve never really been a moaner or one for confrontation but this time I decided to get involved.

“You can’t fail me for that, that’s just nerves.”

The examiner looked at me shiftily and then snatched the form back out of my hand. He quickly scribbled something down. I noticed that he'd added another major.

“Oh and there was a roundabout where you didn’t look right.”

“Which roundabout? You took me through Middleton, that’s like roundabout world.”

This continued for another ten minutes and eventually heartbroken I left the vehicle, holding a sheet which now had about 20 minors and 15 majors.

I left the vehicle making plans to never look at cars again. I decided to make a funeral pyre of my Corsa in the largest public space I could find. I was going to boycott McDonalds.

Time heals they say. And it has.

Now once more I want to pass the driving test. I want to pass it more than ever. It’s my Everest, my four minute mile. As Shane Ward said, “That’s my goal.” You see, I may have dyspraxia, Asperger’s and the inability to drive safely but I can’t let my brother get his hands on the Corsa. And I’m desperate for a Happy Meal.

So after nine fails I’m issuing an invite to driving schools and instructors the world over.

Can anyone get me through the test? Can someone make it happen before my failures lurch into double figures?

I promise to be good, to be diligent, to remember to drive on the left and that red is an order to stop not merely a suggestion.

People, please can you recommend somebody, oh talented driving instructors of the world step forward. Save me.

Follow @smudge_jones on Twitter.

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Smudge_JonesJanuary 20th 2011.

Can't remember writing the aspergers bit? Forgot you enjoy attributing quotes to me haha EDITORIAL COMMENT: We're thinking of giving you several other medical conditions as well.

fitzroy125January 20th 2011.

While your indomitable spirit has to be admired, I reckon there should be a limit on the number of times you can fail the driving test before you are permanently barred from ever holding a licence. For example, if you pass the test next time round, it is obviously a complete fluke and statistical anomaly - 9 times out of 10 you are an incompetent or unsafe driver. This means on 90% of your unaccompanied future trips, you, by virtue of winning the driving test lottery, will be careering along in control (or not as the case may be) of a tonne of steel which shares the road with me... Hmmm... As I say, don't want to be mean but just sayin...

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