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In which 5 hours turns out not to be very much time for learning a skill - Tactical Ninja

Oct. 23rd, 2012

09:57 am - In which 5 hours turns out not to be very much time for learning a skill

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Yesterday I did a thing that made me feel like a proper grownup. You see, the YoT recently got his learner's licence. This gives him the right to drive a car - as long as someone with a full licence is in the passenger seat. Yes, you guessed right, that someone is me.

Well, he's had 5 lessons to get him going, but lessons are expensive and from here to the 120 hours' driving he's supposed to get in the next 8 months or so, it'll be mostly me.


We live in the middle of a city - like, seriously in the middle. We don't even have a driveable road running past our house because it's in the middle of the central mall in Wellington. The car lives in the burbs with the couple we share it with, and so driving lessons involve a bus ride to get there and then getting out of the city to somewhere learner-safe.

Anyway, we started off up by Karori and drove the back way to Porirua, which is about 20 minutes normally and involves about 10 roundabouts and one set of traffic lights. By the time we got there he was getting used to the car, so we looped around the giant roundabout system out there and came back along the motorway, then he drove through town and back up to Brooklyn.

I only thought I was going to die once. Which isn't bad given the circumstances. And I think I kept my operation of the imaginary brake pedal pretty subtle too.

Actually he did pretty well. He managed a U-turn, loads of roundabouts, several sets of traffic lights, changing lanes on the motorway, multiple give ways and pedestrian crossings, and a right turn onto a busy road. Also, it was the first time he'd gone on the open road so there was cornering at speed too. There were only a couple of hairy bits and one missed gear change (hit second instead of fourth going down Ngauranga Gorge wheeeeeee!).

It's given me an increased appreciation for my Mum, who did this for me back in Ye Olden Tymes. It's kind of scary being the helpless passenger when the driver is that inexperienced, trying to maintain a calm even tone of voice - "Focus on steering smoothly into the corners, that's it." "Remember to look over your shoulder before changing lanes, that's the way, well done."

I had forgotten what looking over your shoulder does to your steering before you get used to it. *cough*

So, um, yeah. Thanks Mum. You rocked in a lot of ways and I am still discovering new ways that I wasn't aware of. And for those of you who still have your parents that taught you to drive, please go thank them now because OMG as a teenager I had no understanding or appreciation for how much mental fortitude it takes to sit in a car with a learner driver.


And since the long weekend's over, now it's time to get back to the study grindstone. This morning I printed out exam papers from the last 6 years. It appears I'll have to answer 3 questions from a list of 7, all long answers. They seem to be hooked on the Chicago school, feminist criminology, and this guy who insisted that there will always be wicked people and the best we can do is to keep them away from the rest of us. I guess that's right realism/conservative criminology - I'm not sure they really want to hear what I think of that tbh. Anyway, at least now I know where to focus my study. One week to go and I'm free!

Today, this is making me happy:



He just looks so pleased with himself!

Comments:

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From:hullabalo_o
Date:October 22nd, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
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THE EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE ROFL OH MY GOD!!!
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From:tatjna
Date:October 22nd, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
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YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS JELLY OH YEAH BABY!
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From:t_c_da
Date:October 22nd, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
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I had no understanding or appreciation for how much mental fortitude it takes to sit in a car with a learner driver.

Bin there, done that, several times over...

Way back in ye olden times far, far away (Adelaide in the '60s) My folks had a relative who was the RAA driving instructor, so I got a few formal lessons on driving a car AFTER I had had my driving licence for a couple of years without telling my folks I had one. The SthAust system back in those days was a written test with no practical test, able to be taken at age 16 (but there was talk of raising the age to 18, so I nipped in quick and got one before the opportunity was denied me!). When I started at Uni, dad bought me a car (a 1939 Standard 10 Tourer - aka ragtop) for the princely sum of 15 quid with the proviso that he would supply any components and I was the mechanic.

So, none of this provisional driver stuff for me - here's a car, here's the road, go for it!
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From:tatjna
Date:October 22nd, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
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I got mine in the not so dim dark past of the 1980s, the day before my 16th birthday. I did 5 oral questions, 25 written ones, then went for a drive that involved going through the town*, turning around, going back through the town, turning around again and back to the office. No traffic lights, roundabouts or stop signs to be seen, and I walked out with a full licence. It cost $15.

* Actually a locality: Paparoa.
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From:dragonvyxn
Date:October 22nd, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
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that picture is particularly awesome. congrats on making it through the driving thing. i actually hated driving with my parents because they made me nervous. instead, i babysat and earned $ to pay for my own lessons it was something like 240 for 6 of them back in the day...16 years ago. i got my license later than other kids, about 6 months after my 17th b-day. i was also terrified of driving in snow and my bday is in feb, so, yeah.... eventually had driving lesson in the snow and that helped. :-D anyway it sounds like a good journey for you as a parent! i wonder what we'll be driving in 16 years...
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From:rivet
Date:October 23rd, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
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why is that man wearing a pumpkin instead of pants? And more to the point, how did you encounter this photo? I shiver at the thought of your search history!
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From:tatjna
Date:October 23rd, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
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I subscribe to failblog. Usually it's a mess of fail that I often contemplate cutting, but occasionally it rewards me with pictures like this one.
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From:richaarde
Date:October 23rd, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
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My dad passengered for me when I was learning how to drive. It makes a difference to have someone you trust talk you through things, like the time I almost spun his car on a metal deck bridge on a rainy day.

In that year of practice driving, I only remember one time he did not allow me to drive, on a particularly horrendous stretch of highway
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From:richaarde
Date:October 23rd, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
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Also, now I'm never be able to get to sleep knowing that photo exists. Thanks. *shiver*
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From:tatjna
Date:October 23rd, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Aw c'mon, you know you want to re-enact it! ;-)
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From:richaarde
Date:October 23rd, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
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OK, you got me. I like to prance around my neighborhood wearing a pumpkin and high heel shoes and nothing else, with orange lipstick smeared all over my lips. Moms usually start calling their kids to come inside when they see me, even when I'm not wearing my Captain Pumpkin outfit. :P
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From:damnitnicole
Date:October 23rd, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
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And learning on a manual transmission, at that! I still can't drive manual.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 23rd, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
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He has to because that's what my car is, and that's the one he'll be taking his test in. Also the one he's likely to ask to borrow. O.o
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From:damnitnicole
Date:October 23rd, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
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Just saying - hardcore!
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From:t_c_da
Date:October 23rd, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
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When I learned to drive very few cars had automatic transmissions (at least the ones I had access to) - synchromesh on all 4 gears was a biggie.

The only driving test I have ever done was on an old Bedford B4 bus (owned by the local scout group) which was a 4 speed manual box with no synchromesh - every gear change was a double de-clutch effort, combined with a wait for the engine speed to drop to the point where you could drop in the next gear without crashing the gears, a fun game at the best of times...
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From:tatjna
Date:October 23rd, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
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The YoT has somewhat of an advantage in the gear department because of how much time he's spent on tractors.

Meanwhile, these days it's hard to find a standard car with a manual gearbox. A few years ago I was trying to find a 4 door car with manual gearbox, under 2000cc, and there were only 2 in Wellington for sale. I went O.o
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From:meathiel
Date:October 23rd, 2012 07:09 am (UTC)
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They system works differently here - you are only allowed to drive once you've got your driving license. And you have to have at least 20 hours with a teacher before you can even take the test ...
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From:tatjna
Date:October 23rd, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
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Does that mean that everyone has to do 20 hours of lessons before being allowed to drive with anyone other than an instructor?

Here, you have to do a test to show you know the road rules (theory) before being allowed to drive, but you can only drive with a licenced person next to you. After 6 months you sit a test and it upgrades to being able to drive alone at certain times and carrying certain passengers (spouse, etc). After another 18 months you do another test for the full licence.

When I did mine you just got in the car and off you went. When you were ready, you sat a test and that was that.
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From:meathiel
Date:October 23rd, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
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Well, you have to take lessons with an official instructor. About 20 ... there are certain lessons you have to take like driving at night or on the Autobahn. Then you take a written exam and a driving test ... and only then you're allowed to drive a car without the instructor. If you're under 18 you're only allowed to drive with an adult with a license for another 2 years.
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From:m_danson
Date:October 23rd, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
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That is an awesome photo.
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:October 24th, 2012 05:52 am (UTC)
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I wish I'd had someone like you or your mom riding with me when I was learning to drive - sis was a bit better than dad, but it was still Not A Good Thing, because their default setting is "you're fucking it up, so I'm going to yell at you!"... even when no actual mistake was made. I think I actually learned more once I'd scrounged enough practice to take my test, get my license, and then be able to drive by myself. I'm STILL learning, every time I go out... and every time I read up on the ins and outs of racecraft as research for my novels. I've actually picked up a lot of "handy hints" that way, some of which saved my arse on the newspaper route I've covered for the neighbors a few times.
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:October 24th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Only going to die once? He's a natural then! Cudos to you for daring to teach someone to drive, I've been thinking of it with my nephews and nieces growing up and reaching the age within the coming years but I don't know if I dare to do it.

The pic. OMG. Well he IS fondling a rather larger swelling than he normally does I guess, hence the pleased expression?!
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From:pundigrion
Date:October 26th, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
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Pumpkin man there looks *just* like someone I know....
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From:wildilocks
Date:October 30th, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
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I only vaguely remember my driving lessons - much stronger memories of my motorcycling lessons which were a few years later, and the feeling of "getting it" was so much stronger than I ever remember with driving. I am definitely a two-wheel native. Four wheels and a cage make me feel really uncomfortable, always have and given my age now, I think, always will!
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