Tactical Retreat

Last Friday I went for my driving test. I’ve been working toward it for a while and felt I was in a position where I might make an attempt at passing it. When I started taking lessons back in 2015 I was quite a ball of nerves; shaking as it got closer to 09:00 and hoping that he would forget about my lesson. It took me a year to be able to deal with most of the anxiousness that arose each Friday morning – still it came, but thankfully lessened. I began to feel more confident in my manoeuvres and in how to control the car, so I booked my test and began working towards the date.

The weeks went by without incident (in terms of our subect of nerves at least), and the day of my driving test came. I spent an hour with my driving instructor having a normal lesson in an aim to ease out any nerves and head into it with some final revision. The drive was fine with no shakes at all, but when we came to sitting in the driving centre I felt my head begin to tense. My legs went weak. I kept my hands moving to stop them shaking. Feeling light headed, and like I would trip over something, I led the examiner to the car.

I wish I could say I fought it off. Yeh, I turned it around and passed with flying colours, it was great! But no. It had only just begun. As I sat down with the nicest examiner anyone could hope for in this situation, I didn’t feel entirely there – everything was a little distant. His voice, my replies, my actions. We started off. I was worried.

And not 5 minutes later, it happened. The moment that effectively ended the test. It would take a long, detailed explanation to give you a full picture of what I did and why it affected me so greatly, so I’ll give you a brief view. I blocked 3 streams of traffic and hit a curb. That’s a serious fault. And credit to him, the examiner was brilliantly calm. He waited patiently with me till the traffic had flowed by and I had sorted the car out. We continued on to another road, attempted my manoeuvre (which was parralel parking), and I decided to terminate my test. It had got to the point where I was not confident in my ability to keep others safe whilst driving. I couldn’t rely on my reflexes if someone stepped in front of me, or that I would even remember to check my mirrors while I was in a panick. So, below is a short poem condensing some of this. Let me know what you think of it. Also, I’m looking to fight this panicking issue, how do you deal with your nerves in these kind of situations?

The mind is failing, the body’s shaking;
Not the greatest display of clean prowess.
The ships sent sailing, Levi’than waking;
Some brave man would have called it cowardice.
I sound the alarm, and none come to harm;
Though your money is lost, sire, I confess.


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