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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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Well done on the test. As for the staff, not much can be done for the hard-of-thinking.

I had no theory test but did have reverse and parallel parking in my driving test in 1994. Though that was in Northern Ireland where the rules are probably different.

Did you have fun questions like:
"You see an old lady crossing the road, do you:"
a) Swerve round her clipping her shopping bags.
b) Screech to a halt centimetres away from her sounding your horn.
c) Slow safely to a stop.
d) Drive up on the pavement to avoid her.

or hard questions involving obscure brown signs that no-one has ever seen?

Well done anyway.

Yes to the former, no to the latter. If there had been, it would have been a little more challenging: "if it were upside-down, it would be the symbol for an English Heritage property with a petting zoo".

Ahh you youngsters with your theory papers and hazard perception tests all to get a licence that lets you drive nothing lager than an ice cream van :-)

Piss off Tony, you're younger than I am! Show your elders some respect!

ps: I'm in Sheffield next Monday - fancy meeting up?

Cool, I'm off to the theatre in the evening but there should be time for a couple of drinks beforehand. Where abouts in town will you be?

I've yet to sort out a hotel (!), but I'm going to be at the computer science department during the day.

Ok that suggests either the Red Deer, very close, good selection of beer but all nationally available stuff (Adnams, black sheep, charles wells, green king etc) or Club 197, little bit further (opposite the chemistry dept), smaller selection but generally local beers (Bradfield, Kelham, Springhead).

If I don't hear different I'll be in the Red deer from as soon after 5.45 as I can make, got to run about 7 though.

Cool - I've got the project dinner at 1930, so that's good for me too.

(Deleted comment)
That's *dreadful*...

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