Learning to Drive

Had my theory test this morning, which I passed without any problems. Bit of a relief, since I started learning to drive in 1990 (with a hiatus of about thirteen years in the middle), long enough ago that it was before they introduced the theory test, reverse parking, parallel parking, and so on. I suppose I should be grateful that I’ve made progress before the test includes requirements relating to flying cars (the vehicle that’s always in your future).

A little flap this morning, since I couldn’t find my paper counterpart (last seen before we moved house), but it turns out that I didn’t need it, and could sign an exemption form. I will need it for the practical test, so I suspect it’ll be easier to order a replacement.

Most of the test centre staff were fine, except the one I dealt with, it seems. Arrived, explained that I didn’t have my paper counterpart, and that I wished to sign the exemption form. Was told that “it isn’t that simple”. Oh, I said, the enquiry line for the theory test said it was straightforward, but that I’d need the paper counterpart for the practical test. At this point, the person serving me effectively told me to shut up (I think he said “stop talking”, which is marginally less impolite), and then proceeded to repeat to me slowly everything that I’d already said I knew.

Fine, I said, that was exactly what I was told this morning by the enquiry line, which is what I’d just told you.

He finally handed me the form, with the instruction to “read the form carefully and then sign it”. The form was an A5 sheet with two three-line paragraphs set in 12pt text, perhaps forty words. That looks fine, I said (having taken a little under two seconds to read it), signed it and handed it back. “You didn’t read that”, I was told. I’m sorry, but I just did – I wouldn’t have signed it otherwise. “No, how could you have read it in that time”. Because, I said (resisting the urge to point out that they don’t hand out PhDs for being milk monitor) I can read very quickly.

I expressed my dissatisfaction by selecting ‘very dissatisfied’ for the question about test centre staff in the post-test feedback. That’ll show them.

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