On Wednesday, January 14, 2009, I turned 16. I could have taken my Learner's driving test on that day if I wanted to. "I'll wait two weeks or so until I try for my L's," I thought to myself. I just felt as though I needed that breathing space of two weeks before I tackled something such as driving.
It is Tuesday, December 14, 2010, and I still do not have my L's. I mean, it's not like I took the test and failed. I haven't even taken the test, period. If it's any consolation, I've taken the practice test numerous times, and have passed on most occasions. Now, for many teens, learning to drive is an exciting process - something they have craved since their junior years. A vehicle is generally associated with freedom. Most teens enjoy the prospect of driving because it gives their social lives some much-needed leverage. The thought of being able to drive to a place by oneself - a place where one wants to be, is tantalising to many teens. If a young adult has his/her own personal car, then that prospect is even more appealing. The adolescent mindset is one that generally has a focus on parental exclusion. Most teens don't want to be seen with Mum and Dad. They want to express individual will, and frequently associate with friends.
For whatever reason/s, those motivations have not come over me. I just haven't had the desire to learn to drive. OK...I was kinda lying when I said for whatever reason/s. I can think of a few specific reasons why I haven't gone for my L's yet. I will go through each reason in the form of an elaborated list.
1. A bad experience as a child - When I was approximately 9 years old, my dad had to get an old, faulty car to a smash repairs place (or something like that) at the end of my street. So, it was decided that my dad and brother would push start the car while I would control the steering and acceleration. Yes, it was illegal. Anyway, I lost control of the car, nearly caused an accident, and crashed into the gutter. Thankfully, no one was harmed. My dad and brother yelled at me, and I ran off home, frightened and confused. To this day, that experience remains quite vivid.
2. Growing up in a matriarchal household - If you didn't know, my parents divorced in 2003. For the past seven years, I've lived with my mum and my brother. My mum has never driven in her life - she doesn't have a licence, and has a self-confessed 'phobia of cars and driving'. Thus, for my adolescent years, I haven't had a father figure to 'show me the ropes', or to encourage me to drive. It seems that most teens these days learn to drive with their father. Of course, there's my brother, who is a good source of support, but in my opinion, he cannot be a direct substitute for a father. My brother has always been a good driver, and actually has an interest in cars, however I believe that he lacks the 'wisdom' or the 'experience' of a parent driver.
3. My brother teaching me - Speaking of my brother, he is the one who'll be teaching me to drive when I eventually get my L's. As I said, he is a good driver, and I have complete trust in him. It's just that I'm worried about how he'd react if I made a mistake (and I WILL make mistakes). In the past, he has told me off for very minor mistakes that I've made. He is quite impatient at times, and I would feel as if I was under too much pressure by learning under him. The fact of the matter is, I will be learning under him. I would actually prefer him to teach me than some driving instructor.
4. Fear of failure/question of difficulty - OK, this reason is slightly stupid, but I'm concerned that driving a car may actually be difficult. Of course, my bad experience as a child contributes to me having this feeling. I often think "Surely, driving cannot be difficult. Just look at how many people are on the road. Look at how many people my age are learning to drive. If the majority of people can drive, then surely, I can do it too." Despite thinking that, I still have my doubts. I want to learn to drive using an automatic transmission car. I honestly don't think I have the coordination or reflexes to drive a manual car. Since there are no automatic cars at my house, that makes things kinda difficult.
Well, those are my reasons for not yet attaining my Learner's licence. Now, many people, including some of my friends, are continually giving me a hard time over the fact that I still don't have my L's. I have laughed off many of their comments, but sometimes I find them to be quite annoying. There's a running joke between two of my friends - Lucas and Nicholas. They have told me numerous times that if I haven't got my L's by the time I am 18, they will pay for my L's test and drive me to the nearest RTA on my birthday. For some reason, I think it may come to that stage, sadly. Anyway, the bottom line of this blog is that you shouldn't make judgements about people without knowing the full story. It's not that I'm lazy. People don't remain lazy for this long. I happen to have numerous psychological reasons for my decision, which I have explained in this blog, and so you shouldn't just dismiss my decision as one based purely on laziness. Think before you speak, and allow me to go at my own pace.