They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions but I can tell you that it is actually paved with asphalt and good intentions and the occasional unfortunate squirrel.
I know because I went there today.
Hell(lite) is the drive test centre in Etobicoke where I had to go to take my ‘G’ road test.
It is at the end of an ugly strip mall in an ugly, industrial corner of suburbia and, as predicted by AC/DC, I had to take a highway to get there.
I pulled into ‘hell’ a few minutes early and spent these extra minutes straightening my vehicle perfectly in its space (I had come in slightly diagonal and didn’t want to risk a poor first impression).
Then I went inside where I handed over my paperwork to a surprisingly friendly lady and told her I was ready to be judged.
Daylight doesn’t make it all the way into the test centre office and the low t-bar ceiling and florescent lighting don’t do much to brighten the space up. The humiliation of those who have tried and failed to pass the many levels of driver certification floats in the dusty air. Tears have stained the threadbare greige carpet, and I could hear the faintest echo of anguished howls of teens who still require adult supervision on the road. The folks that work there seem quite pleasant, but the place is gray and tinged with despair.
But I may have been projecting…..
I’d been preparing for this day for weeks, years really.
It was time.
I was sent back to my car to wait.
As I waited I thought through what I had read about the ‘G’ test online:
- According to some guy on the internet who sounds like he knows, I should PRAY not to get a yellow light – that is an automatic fail because apparently, there is nothing you can do that is right when that happens (while this seems like questionable internet advice, along the lines of when I became convinced that my last cold was actually malaria, I had taken it to heart and was really hoping not to get a yellow). I am not a religious woman so instead of praying, I tried to sort of spiritually wish for no yellow.
- Remember to use the parking brake on the roadside stop. OR FAIL.
- Make dramatic head movements to demonstrate mirror and shoulder checks – I have been practicing this all week and my children have noticed and commented. They think it is weird and that is saying a lot coming from a seven and four year old. Anyway, it is always better to look like a weirdo than to fail.
- Stay in the right hand lane NO MATTER WHAT! OR FAIL.
- Plus all the stuff that was actually in the handbook.
It seemed like forever but was about ten minutes before my test guy came to the car.
The test passed in a blur (within the speed limit of course) and I did get a yellow but, fortunately, contrary to the dire internet predictions, I was not ‘totally screwed’. I also curbed it on my parallel park (just a kiss really) but other than that, the test went well and I passed.
“See you when you’re eighty!” my favourite driving tester in the world said, congratulating me on becoming a fully legal driver.
I am dreading it already.