At five minutes to ten in the morning, I would be sitting on an old and tattered couch in the small porch outside our front door. I could feel the heat beginning to rise and the birds were in full flight moving from tree to tree.
The morning school rush was all but over and to my relief I knew the roads would be quieter.
My heart would begin to beat faster as the seconds flew by.
I would repeatedly smooth my hair and twist the rings on my fingers round and round to try and relieve my nerves. The waiting was almost worse than the driving.
Sometimes he would send me a text messages. Letting my know he was running late only prolonging my anxiety. Mostly he was always on time. I would see the small black car pull up outside my gate a Peugeot I think? I am not really into cars enough to know their make never mind the model. Just looking at the driving school sign on the roof would make my stomach lurch.
He was a good teacher, patient. He was used to teaching older people. People whom had just arrived in Australia. Or people who barley spoke English but whom needed a drivers licence so that they could find employment. He had faith in me he knew I could get over my fear. I don’t think I would have ever learnt if my instructor had not have been so positive.
Mr Kangaroo also took me out for lessons in between. I was lucky to have such a patient teacher in him also. He knew how much I was not liking it. I would shout and cry at him but he just kept his cool and told me I could do it. Hill starts were a living nightmare. How can I possibly get the balance right without burning the clutch or stalling the car. I used to scare myself when I began thinking Oh My goodness I am in control of this machine I could so easily lose control and cause an accident. I think when you are older you think too much about the danger !
Twenty paid lessons I had! I hated every single one of them. My palms would be sweaty. I pretty much sat on top of the steering wheel and I dare not take my eyes off the road when my instructor was making small talk with me.
Learning to drive was something I absolutely had to do. If I was to get ahead in this new country and find a good job. I never had a need or perhaps even a chance to learn to drive in Ireland. I would either walk or catch buses everywhere.
In Australia things are different. There is a huge dependency on cars whether you live in the city or not.
By my twentieth lesson I could master all the maneuvers required for a test. Hill start, parallel parking, checking my blind stops. I still could not talk while I drove and I was still sitting on top of that steering wheel. When my instructor told me he was booking my driving test. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I wanted to “run” away on my bicycle.
The morning of my test I do not think I have ever been so nervous in my whole life. My instructor picked me up and I had to drive to the testing center. I did not hear a single word he said to me as I drove in the morning traffic. The driving examiner was young enough and he wanted to talk about Ireland as he had just been. However all he got were one word answers and I dare not look at him.
I cannot believe I passed on first go. What a feeling. I will never forget the feeling of getting into my little car a Holden Barina alone. No one watching my every move. Oh how I enjoyed that fist drive on my own. I was nervous but it felt so much better to be on my own. I had been on that many lessons that thankfully I had actually become a confident and able driver.
Now I love driving. I love the freedom and the independence it gives me. I love listening to my music loud as I drive home from work. I easily jump between manual and automatic. I still find it incredible that I pushed through those nerves.
It is determination that drives. If you really want something despite how hard it may be, you will reach your final destination eventually.
This hurdle I climbed reminds me I can do such things again. I can fight my way out of that comfortable shell I like to lock myself into. I can push myself past that stop sign and find a new road.
Have you pushed yourself to do something you hated with a positive outcome?