It’s only when you’re trapped in the waiting room at a driving test centre that you may, for the first time in one’s life, become annoyed at the incessant chatter of other waitees.
One woman was yapping about the need to draw up a new will as soon as she’s passed her test because there are “so many bad drivers out there” it was going to be an extra risk to her life.
She declared to us all that since her ‘rat of a husband’ bailed out from her so long ago,she couldn’t make up her mind whom to appoint as her next-of-kin. What irked me most was her insistence on using a ‘q’ where the ‘k’ should be ... and this only after I’d been sitting for five minutes. Tsk – give me strength.
A young man of about twenty was buzzing with anticipation while waiting for his examination to begin.
"I’m chomping at the bit here – hope the weather holds up though, because I hate driving in the rain. I don’t want my day to end up a damp squid," he uttered to his hopeful fellow travellers.
I just wanted to sit in quietness, but as always the case when you want something most, it’s rarely likely to happen. A woman passed by our window to the outside world in floods of tears. She had obviously been failed, and a priest, who’d been studiously reading his office or something equally holy, looked up and smiled benignly at his accidental congregation saying, in clerical innocence: "Oh dear,we hope it’s not the case that we abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
This thought put a dampner in the minds of us poor souls, and dimmed any optimistic flickering flames of hope, I have no doubt. He wasn’t to know, because in his divine confidence he knew he was going to pass, even if he wouldn’t do well, if you know what I mean, and was speaking for the rest of us. They have the power, apparently.
Time dragged on, and I was now having some doubts whether I’d soon be in a position to flash the new-fangled full driving license to the pretty cop with lovely red-streaked hair who’d stopped me recently and wished me well on the day. The female co-driver was very attractive, also. This was all the spur I needed at that time,but cruel reality was now biting as the queue was shortening relentlessly and it was getting closer to my turn to face into the gaping abscess of uncertainty.
I wished I was somewhere else, and a childhood prayer flashed through my mind as I got up to face once more unto the beach, dear friends: "Oh sacred heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in thee.”
Then I was gone...
Top movies about Northern Ireland's Troubles