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AskAlex #18

I chose a pretty broad topic to write about this week, as I wanted to branch out a little. I feel like I’ve been answering some quite specific questions recently, so I felt it was time to explore a broader area. It’s also not something that I’m going to particularly enjoy, as it does involve recalling some bad memories.

What has been the most unpleasant experience of your life?

Many people who know me personally will know that I am twenty-two, very nearly twenty-three and yet I still can’t drive. I had my first driving lesson a week after I turned seventeen and I still haven’t passed. It will probably say a lot about me when I tell you that I passed my theory test on my first try with just one mistake. Sadly, that result is now void because it has been much longer than two years since then without me passing my practical. This means that if I ever wanted to drive, I’d have to take my theory again.

I really don’t enjoy driving because it scares me more than almost everything else. Being in control of such a dangerous machine is something that I can’t deal with and I just don’t trust myself not to make a ghastly and possibly deadly mistake. Naturally, all my family have constantly tried to reassure me that such things are unlikely to happen but I’m an anxious person and my fears often consume me to the point where I just avoid the situation completely. This is why I’ve reached my early twenties with no driving licence.

Back to the question in hand, my most unpleasant experience was my first ever driving test. It was just 45 minutes long but I can honestly say that I’ve never had a worse time. I was so nervous that I almost crashed the car at least twice, cried throughout a very difficult reverse around a corner and quite obviously got the examiner into a state of panic and dismay. The reverse around a corner manoeuvre was always my least favourite and not only did I have to perform it on my first driving test but I had to reverse up a hill first and then reverse around the corner at the top of said hill. To this day, I don’t know how I didn’t completely burn out the car’s engine.

I returned to the test centre a shaking, tearful wreck, knowing I’d failed. I felt so humiliated and stupid that I just wanted to go home. However at the same time, I didn’t want to go home and tell everyone that I’d failed. Luckily, my subsequent two driving tests weren’t as terrifying but of course, as I mentioned, both of those were also fails.

This is probably a very tame answer to this question and I’m sure many people would have a much more harrowing or heartbreaking answer but I have been very lucky in my life. I’ve never lost anyone very close to me apart from my childhood pet cat Felix, whose death was very peaceful after a long illness. Thinking about my response to this question has made me realise how fortunate I’ve been over the past twenty-three years, so in a way although it hasn’t been fun re-living that memory, it has been pretty uplifting.

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