Smokey the Magnificent

Failing the Turing Test since 1986


Today was my, ahem, third driving test. To spare you any suspense, I passed; and just as well, because the whole experience is very demoralising to my inner calm, and I think another few goes would have given me a gastric ulcer. Crikey. I was initially pleased to see that my instructor was not the same lady with whom I’d bumped the car in the parking lot; it was, instead, a kindly-looking older man with a Scottish accent, and I warmed to him instantly, thinking he would be fatherly and approving.

He was not. At the beginning of the test I did a few silly things out of abject terror, and each time he barked at me “Wanna tell me why you did THAT? That’s not correct driving, SMOKEY, and if you don’t drive correctly I’m not gonna pass you!”. And I was all “Dude, you’re harshing my mellow”, but by the third outburst I was convinced I’d failed already, which oddly enough cheered me up a little; it seemed that the universe was humming along on its accustomed path and all was well. So I tootled contentedly through the rest of the test, even going so far as to answer back when he snapped that my overcautious gap selection could have made me a hazard to cars behind me, if there had been cars behind me. (Me: “True, but I knew there weren’t any cars behind me, and this is an 80k zone, so it seemed sensible to be cautious”. He: grim silence, probably taking pleasure in picturing the car crashing into a flaming fireball of death.) And at the end of the test, instead of relieving my nerves with a simple yea or nay, he worked through a laundry list of my driving defects – which oddly, were entirely different to the defects mentioned by the other instructor – I’m not sure if that’s good or bad – and ended by grudgingly admitting “Well, you did pass…”; clearly implying that left to his druthers, he’d have had me sterilised and shipped off to the Americas for the good of society, but his hands were tied. At any rate, he successfully managed to suck any sense of accomplishment out of the occasion, leaving me even more depressed than the time I failed.


And did he even ask after the baby? He did not. Wouldn’t have killed him.

Essentially, I should feel like this:


but as it is, I feel like this:


and that is all I have to say about that.

  1. Mother


  2. Mother

    Have you misplaced your Father? You didn’t drive off and leave him behind, did you? He is Missing.

  3. smokering

    He and the Baggins oosed off to a car yard to look at more cars. He said they were just going to one, so they ought to be home shortly.

  4. Natty

    Well, I say “Hooray!”. The guy was Scottish, and they are notorious grumpy-bums.

    Come and get the DVDs, in your car. You can coast and leave big gaps, and no one will care!

  5. smokering

    Are you home around 6:30-7:00ish? We’re dropping the piggie off at her grandparents’ and going out for dinner to celebrate; we could pick them up on the way…

    I have tried to be more virtuous about coasting since my second test, but I still don’t see what the big deal is. I know it’s worse for the clutch-plate, but let’s face it, any clutch-plate under my tender ministrations isn’t going to live for its allotted threescore and ten anyway.

  6. AprilElf

    I think the bigger issue with coasting might be that you have less control over the car’s speed.
    At least, years and years ago my dad was less than impressed when I told him I’d driven down the Kaimais in neutral, just to see how far the car would coast on momentum only. I did realise at the time that it was dodgy because I couldn’t change down gears to reduce speed – I was reliant on brakes only.
    I know that isn’t exactly what you are doing, but it might have something to do why it’s a no-no.

  7. smokering

    I suppose that makes sense, but I usually do it when I’m going really slowly, like around a tricky corner or over a bump. So how far did the car coast? :p

  8. AprilElf

    A surprisingly long way once I was on the flat actually! It just kept rolling and rolling. I didn’t take note of the precise distance.

    So it sounds like you’re scared the car is going to stall when you are going that slow. You should be braking and changing down cleanly rather than riding the clutch.
    … So says me with no car! Ha ha!

    I hope you are feeling a bit more “wheeee!” about passing, now that some time has passed. 😉

  9. Bob

    Well done!!! Woooohooooooooo 🙂 It is a victory worth celebrating even if the tester made you feel otherwise. Hope you enjoyed your dinner.