There is nothing quite like a bad day of public transport. I've had a few of those in the last few months. Usually unavoidable days where I have to get four buses to run an errand that would be a half an hour round trip if I drove. It also means lugging Billy, our pram and equipment to cover all weather eventualities with me too.
A few of these days recently lead me to bite the bullet and I finally booked my theory test. Rescheduled it, booked it again, and finally sat the bloody thing. I took at least 100 of the practice tests and I failed well over half of them. I really couldn't get over how NOT OBVIOUS the questions are. Not obvious? Un-obvious? Oh who cares. I had heard from lots of people that the questions are "just common sense". I would like to point out that they really are not. You definitely need to set aside a decent amount of time to study. Some of them are obvious, but there are a lot of questions that require you to know specific speeds, times and distances etc. Anyway, I passed it - just about. I reckon it was a last minute answer-change that lead me to scrape the pass in the end. Nonetheless I was delighted. I can totally see how people fail time and time again. Don't beat yourself up.
Another few weeks of procrastination and I finally got all of my bits and bobs together and made the appointment to apply for the actual license. It's a bit ironic but I found the running around a bit stressful because simple things like getting passport photos and an eyetest are not so easy with a toddler by your side. Particularly when it involves a lot of public transport. We got there in the end and I headed to the Citywest branch
to apply for my provisional learners permit. Luckily enough I was the last person to get a number that day and I only ended up waiting 45 minutes in total. I had heard horror stories of waiting hours and hours. We took a chance and thankfully it paid off. I handed in all my documents, they took photos and I handed over the money. Two weeks later my shiny little card arrived and I could finally begin researching driving instructors.
Keith Deegan in Citywest was recommended to be by someone I went to school with. I checked out his website and I was impressed by the positive reviews but most importantly his price was really excellent. No other instructor who had been recommended to me offered lessons at such a cheap rate. Keith charges €25 per lesson which is absolutely fantastic. The going rate in a lot of places is closer to €35. I made contact with Keith and he got back to me really quickly. We booked in our first lesson and I silently panicked for a few days - a trend that would most certainly continue. Learning how to drive is way more daunting than I ever imagined. Weirdly enough though, it is also so much fun once you get going.
I am on lesson number six now and am finally at the point where I get straight in to the drivers seat when Keith picks me up for our lesson. I cut out a million times, have stopped in the middle of a roundabout, and I am pretty sure Keith is going to suffer from whiplash one of these days with the amount of times I suddenly jam-on, but I am DRIVING. I can't believe it. It is such a great feeling. I have come a long way since our first lesson when I thought cars just had a stop and go function. Well, some do, but you know what I mean.
The hardest part for me has been forgetting about the other drivers around me. Easy in theory and not so much in reality. Most people on the roads seem to forget that they too were once learners. They drive close behind you, beep you, over-take you at dangerous times, and basically don't allow for any of the inevitable mistakes that all learners make. Keith has been a constant source of support though and he really helps when I am beginning to panic. After our fifth lesson I mentioned to Keith that it was my favourite lesson so far. I made tonnes of mistakes, forgot really simple things, and Keith helped me lots with the clutch (he has one on his side of the car too. Handy!) but I didn't let the panic take over me this time. When I cut out I took a deep breath and started again. This is a real sign of progress.
In Ireland you must do 12 one-hour EDT lessons given to you by a certified ADI instructor in order to apply for your full license. I hope to do one every week from now until Christmas so the hope is that in the new year I will be well on my way to becoming a confident driver.
I am going to sound like such a granny right now but I really cannot wait to build up a bit of confidence. I know it will take time and it will probably be months and months until I feel like I am in to the swing of it but I am so excited to be able to get myself and Billy from A to B without much stress. Simple things like play-dates, coffee mornings and food shopping are a logistical nightmare at times. I really look forward to being able to make more of our days off together.
Most of all I am really grateful to have found a good driving instructor. It really does make all of the difference. I am still petrified at the thought of every lesson but I know that is really normal. I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and feeling the fear but doing it anyway.
Keith will travel to anywhere in Dublin to give lessons so it doesn't matter if you are south-side or north side. Give him a call today on 0870530655 or send him a message on the Facebook Page
and he will get back to you very quickly. At the moment he is doing an offer for 12 EDT driving lessons for €250 which is unbelievably good value for money.
Until next time - beep beep.
Labels: driving, fear, goals