As some of you may know, when I originally started work for the LAS five years ago, I really wanted to be a paramedic, and working in the control room was an interim measure until I passed my driving test.
I soon hit a stumbling block when I discovered I was actually completely terrible at driving. I also found that I enjoyed working in the control room a lot more than I expected, particularly when I was promoted to allocator earlier this year. I would also find the pay drop from allocator to student paramedic totally crippling, as I live on my own in London and have a lot of student debts. In short, the paramedic dreams and driving lessons kind of fell by the wayside.
However, 2009 has been a year of everything miraculously going right for me, and therefore I decided to give my driving test a fifth and final try. If there was any time for me to pass, it would be now. After all, compared with some of the things I’ve achieved this year, it should be a breeze, right? On the other hand, if I failed again, I could say with certainty: “Okay, it’s time to give up. I tried my hardest and I couldn’t do it and now it is time to stop wasting my time and money.”
Of course, life always presents you with the one outcome you didn’t bargain for. I failed – but I failed by a whisker. I failed on the sodding reverse around the blooming corner, even though I know this is a manoeuvre I can perform in my sleep. I failed because I was so bloody nervous that my leg was shaking like an epileptic and I couldn’t control the clutch and the car hopped all the way round the corner and up towards the kerb, and then I panicked and lost control of the steering and stalled the car and it was a TOTAL MESS. Then we drove on and I pootled happily around the North Circular and round Charlie Brown’s roundabout taking the third exit with white van men and kamikaze drivers in beaten up Escorts cutting into me and failing to utilise any signals. I did a perfect turn in the road and sailed up and down Woodford New Road without breaking the speed limit. I pulled off a hill start in heavy traffic. Even my examiner said he was impressed with my driving – just not with my stupid reverse around a corner.
If I had been a miserable failure, it would have been easy to say “that’s that” and quit with honour. It would have been an easy decision to give up wasting £20 a week (the price of a ticket to Brighton, a bottle of champagne or two posh eyeshadows!) on driving lessons. I would never have had to face a £10k pay cut in order to become a student paramedic. I could give up the dream of driving an ambulance, knowing I was chasing something that was never going to happen, and concentrate on what I do have instead.
But I was so close…
And “Nee Naw 2: From Room to Road” is a book that is just itching to be written.
So I think I will give it one more go. In a few months’ time, though. I think I’ve got enough to be getting on with at the moment.