Four writers wish they could have another stab at a moment from their past.


This incident was actually the high-water mark of my attempts at learning to drive. Mercifully, I’ve managed to erase most of the memories from my 2010 attempt. Those that remain feature my then-partner’s mother insisting in the strongest possible terms that she teach me. Then there’s a big blank. Then there’s me mailing her an apology card.

In the strictest terms, this was my do-over of learning to drive. Then I had a do-over of my do-over. Now I’m asking for a do-over of that do-over. Please sir, may I have some more chances to acquire one of the most basic grown-up skills, long after I got too old for it to be ‘cute’ that I ‘failed at adulting’?

I did the learner test again in 2015, but after refusing to actually study for it out of a misplaced sense of arrogance, the first three questions I got were the difficult trick ones. You know, the ones where it’s like, “If a beautiful palomino horse is backing out of a roundabout at 20kph and fails to indicate to the motorist on the starboard side of the intersecti­on, how many penalty units will be levied to the horse’s mother?”

Of course, I got those three incorrect, and ended up white-knuckling my way to a bare pass by answering the next 37 questions right, all by complete accident. I could have interprete­d this as a sign from the universe that it really was time for me to learn how to drive, but instead I spent the next five years using my learner permit exclusivel­y to enter premises whose sole purpose was to sell me alcohol. At least I never drank and drove!

If I could actually go back in time and do this all again, what I would’ve done differentl­y is to have started going to the gym in 2006 and become jacked enough to turn the Falcon’s steering wheel. I would’ve passed my driving test with flying colours, developed trapezius muscles beefy enough to crush a beer can between, and saved myself the trouble of applying for that new bus pass.

However, now that my most recent learner permit is on the eve of its expiration, I am faced with the fairly humiliatin­g spectre of getting it again in my 30s. Ask for a do-over, and ye shall receive! However, the do-over means sitting down next to a bunch of legal minors half my age and answering that damn horse roundabout question again. Uhh, C! Twelve penalty units to the horse’s mother! Or is it B, penalties cannot be levied to quadrupeds? Oh boy, not this again.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia