A Review of My Driving Lesson by Elle Adamson

Posted on January 5, 2011

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At present, I have no licence. Yes, I have tried. In typical fashion, I left the handbrake on in my first test. Three streets and a U-turn later, I found myself back at Vicroads with a FAIL stamped across my examination sheet. That was two years ago. To be honest living in the middle of the city means that, aside from 4 am Maccas runs, I don’t really need a car or licence. It’s questionable as to whether I need the 4 am Maccas runs either. Regardless, in my unemployed holiday-making state, I am determined to do something useful, and actually get a licence.

Learners Plates

Cue Dmitri. Dmitri is my third driving instructor, and by the looks of things, will be the most interesting. At 2:30 this afternoon he pulled up out the front of my house. While he smoked a cheeky cigarette, I fixed my mirrors and adjusted my seat. Here was the first problem; Dmitri’s car seat doesn’t go down. This was a dilemma. I’m a short-arse and am therefore usually leaning against the front windscreen by the time I can reach the pedals. Also, I couldn’t really see the speedometer – pretty crucial to driving. I set off down the road at Dmitri’s peril, admittedly slowly, and Dmitri started making delightful flowing hand gestures at me – slow down, speed up – to help me get used to the car. I felt as though I was being conducted through the streets of suburbia.

The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

All was fine until we came to a main road with four lanes each way and enough traffic lights to light up the MCG. I freaked a little. Not because I haven’t driven in two months, but because Dmitri told me to “give him the car” (which meant taking my hands off the wheel and my feet off the pedals) and to look at him while he explained to me how long to leave my blinkers on. He had to ask me twice to look at him, because frankly, even though he’s a driving instructor, and I know that he’s not going to get me killed in a road accident, I just don’t trust those B-doubles, you know?

Give Way, Elle gonna run you down.

We made it past the treacherous main roads, and ventured back into the quieter streets to practice three-point turns and lane changes, all the while Dmitri repeating that I must be “always checking road and speedometer, road and speedometer”.  Finally, we made it back home unscathed. Dmitri had another cheeky smoke and finished telling me how to relax and drop my shoulder while I’m doing a head check. I pulled the diary out from behind my back (which he had put there to show me the correct angle of movement for said head checks). Forty-four dollars and another booked lesson later, I’m actually looking forward to next week, though quietly hoping we can talk more about head checks, so that he’ll tell me again that “in Soviet Russia, head checks you”.

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