Parenthood opens up so many wonderful new fulfilling experiences. Each day brings another little memory to dwell upon and treasure. If I’m really inspired, I get to combine the adventure with the potential for a work of art. And so with yesterday. The chance to accompany eldest daughter to her driving test, and see for the first time how the test set-up of the 21st century has moved on from my 1970s experience.
We allowed plenty of time to get there, naturally. In celebration of the joyous occasion, the Mini got a vacuum and quick spit ‘n’ polish. J’s driving instructor together with his car was booked elsewhere, and I hadn’t expected our vehicle to have to pass the scrutiny of an examiner. We had a few hairy moments before setting off. Neither of us knew how to open the bonnet (apparently a test requirement, much to my embarrassment) and a red warning light wouldn’t go off because of an electrical fault with the light itself. Luckily we had allowed so much time that despite these hiccups we still arrived at the test centre with 30 minutes to go. So J thought she should drive around a bit, and we joined an odd suburban crawl of L-platers all puttering and droning aimlessly around the vicinity at 26 mph. After 15 minutes, I couldn’t stand any more and begged her to park and go and sit in the test centre waiting room. Which we did.
As someone who goes everywhere with at least three books, two journals and a couple of mobile devices in my bag, I knew I could entertain myself quite happily in the DSA hive. But no need for any of that. As soon as I entered the room, I was transfixed by the walls. More particularly, the notices on the walls. I couldn’t believe quite how many there were. More than a doctor’s surgery. Far more than a school foyer. At first I was convinced it must be all duplication. But no; I worked my way around all points of the compass and satisfied myself that the material was mostly unique. Some of it was very interesting; some less so. I realised I would be pushed to absorb it all in the available time, and as the seats pushed up against the edges of the room began to fill with nervous test entrants and over-enthusiastic instructors, I resorted to a few quick photos. I then spent a happy 10 minutes creating the collage to accompany this post.
Hats off to the DSA for all round entertainment. If you would like to experience it yourself, just book a driving test.
And my daughter? She passed.