A Gut-Wrenching Confession

Posted in The Honey Badger Diaries / Musings



A Gut-Wrenching Confession

If you're interested in the whole sordid disaster then this is it! Shake, Rattle and Roll, without the big band, was what happened to me this morning. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try or work at something it fails.  Coming to terms with failure and moving on is also a learning curve I have learnt.  It's not easy.

“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” ― Mercedes Lackey.

I am sad and disappointed. A huge rock has lodged itself in my throat, no in my chest. In fact, it’s crushing me.

Determined to be cool, calm and collected, I set off to do my driving test for the Honey Badger this morning. I have practised and practised. Read the driver’s manual. Took to the wheel and did all my manoeuvres, saying out loud Blind spot, mirror, mirror, mirror, and blind spot.

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Yesterday I was the designated driver, I happily obliged. I pulled away perfectly, reversed seamlessly and thought (with reservation) that I’ve got this. I parked the HB in the shed regardless of the tight squeeze.  Before bed I swallowed two Myprodol's and rubbed Voltaren gel all over my neck.  For the head turning. Forewarned is forearmed.  Butch's video of my "precursor" speaks for itself. Le Driving instructor/cameraman was very jolly after lunch yesterday when I did my "precursor"

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I rehearsed the route while I walked on the treadmill this morning doing a record 2.8km in my allotted time before hopping onto my bike as I repeated the route in my mind’s eye, making sure I had my eye on the road, not the gear lever, my hands on the steering wheel at all times except when I had to change gears of course. Never has a 45 minute spinning class flashed past me so quickly.

My daily routine speeded up I quickly got myself ready for my appointment with the traffic department. I made sure my hair was tied back securely, to prevent any hair from blowing into my eyes as I stuck my head out for the blind spot. I had massaged the last good blob of Voltaren gel onto my neck for good measure, for an unexpected crick and made sure my specs were crystal clear, took two blasts of antihistamine in each nostril in case I sneezed and needed to blow my nose.  Last but not least I bit the bullet and wore sensible lace up shoes to prevent my foot slipping off the pedals. More ready I couldn't be.

Half an hour ahead of schedule my sweet instructor Deno and I walked the route, he explained every move and exactly what I must do. Looking back now I think that’s when my fear stepped in too, although at the back of my mind I was sure I’d manage.

I waited patiently for my name to be called, had the necessary paperwork done and headed outside to the waiting truck.  When my bladder announced itself I had a premonition, but shrugged it off.  I had been warned the officers would be very officious so wasn't at all surprised by the cold reception I received. No one greeted me as I stepped into the office to have the paperwork readied.  Officer Visagie explained what was expected and off I went. I heard him, understood his instructions.  I should've known.

Rattling off the vehicle check list was fine. I set off. Around the arena I went, up the hill, no stalling as I set off, down the hill, the vehicle didn’t budge when I took my foot off the brake and in neutral it relied on the handbrake beautifully. My straight reverse went swimmingly and so it was time for the final hurdle before I had to go on the “big” road.

All I had to do was reverse the truck around a corner and into a demarcated parking bay with blue markers marking the area. No rolling forward was allowed and of course no driving into the posts. Full of confidence I set off. With my head sticking out of the window I cruised backwards, slowly, two rotations of the steering wheel and then mirror mirror. All that was fine. It was straight backwards, home and dry.  My neck was working like a charm, no pain.

And then. My body seized up. My legs began shaking uncontrollably, my hands shook. Sweat beaded on my top lip. That was the end of my reverse. I stalled the truck. Between poles one and two. Only had two to go. Turned the key to start up again and lurched forward. That was the end of that.

Officer Visagie, tried to be sympathetic but by then I thought I’d throw up. When pins and needles set in I thought maybe I’d had a stroke. That at least would be a viable explanation.

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And so I have to go through the whole rigmarole again. Back to the eye test, sitting in the queue for hours to make the appointment,  and so it goes on and on.

Where was the confidence I had 44 years ago when I got my driver’s licence? Then I did it without looking at a book, clad in a bikini with shorts, T Shirt and flip flops. My friend Hans and I dashed off to Bellville and within 15 minutes I had my licence. One must do these things when you’re young and fearless.

I do not do failure like a pro. I agonise about it for a (long) while until I can swallow my pride. No amount of molly coddling will help. This is when one gets back into the saddle, hurt pride and all I can hear my parents say. Oh well. 

Butch has been extremely kind and even took me for a coffee. That helped. A teeny weeny bit, for a little while.  I must confess I am finding it hard to eat humble pie today.

I am really, really gutted and sad. And afraid. Will I ever get it right? Thank you to everyone for the lovely messages and good luck wishes. You all remembered the 11/11 I am humbled and grateful. You’ll have to do it all again!  Deno and I have a class set up on Thursday. I am going to reverse until I can do it blind folded.

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“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy - the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.” ― Eric Hoffer

Dianne said "Sometimes one needs a bit of help.  Brandy works a treat."!  - Hilarious. I don't think Officer Visagie would've been too impressed.


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