Sabah has made me do what every person I’ve known since college has wanted me to do: get a driving license.
I know it got on nerves whenever I said, “I can go anywhere the LRT goes. I have no transport.” The truth was, the transport existed. I just didn’t know how to use it.
Some of you may know this, but for those of you who don’t, here’s the thing: I went for driving lessons back in 2003, right after my 18th birthday. I was down to my final lesson and I decided to stop. It was a stupid, bratty thing to do but I couldn’t take my instructor. The man was always getting on my case and yelling. I wasn’t a bad driver, that much I knew, so why was he yelling so much? I was entertaining thoughts of suddenly hitting the brakes whilst going downhill just because I knew he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Imagine that.
As I said, stupid and bratty. And really childish.
I wasn’t really interested in driving either. It was something I was asked to do so that I wouldn’t have to waste time doing it later (heh.)
So, for the past ten years I relied on my mum, my kind friends (one of which ALWAYS bitched about paying for the Penchala Link toll) and public transport. I didn’t find it troublesome. I’m sure everyone else did but that’s a different story.
Then came the appointment letter that sent me to Sabah. Anyone who had ever lived or been to Sabah told me to get my license before starting work, that I would definitely need it. Did I? Of course not. I’m nothing if not in denial about something or the other.
Jump to Kota Kinabalu. Car-less, license-less and completely stuck. No mum to drive me around, insane taxi fares (if you can get a taxi) and 2 hospitals to work in. I knew I was fucked.
It was clear that I had to get my license and quick. Thankfully, the number of hours one needs to spend on less are a bit of a joke so if you’re determined, a couple of weeks are enough to legally raise hell on the streets.
I was determined but arranging for lessons on days off, pre- and post-night shifts were tricky. I ended up taking 6 weeks to complete everything. Do you know what the biggest joke was? My lady instructor this time was even more of a pain in the ass than my first instructor! I was actually missing him!
At least he didn’t keep comparing me to other students, didn’t keep telling me I was weak and didn’t say that he doubted I was ready for the exam. More importantly, he taught me how do drive a car in places like Cheras at 5pm.
This sow disguised as a woman kept making fun of other students who were learning, probably (very likely) complained about how awful a driver I was, gave me confusing instructions and encouraged me to daydream about doing serious damage to her face. The only thing that stopped me from actual physical harm was my empathy for those working in A&E. No one likes a new admission.
I had a pre-exam evaluation and the actual exam. Both times I felt more relaxed with the examiners than I ever did with my instructor. I wanted to laugh when I realised that I’d much rather sit for 5 pre-exam evaluations than spend 2 hours in a car with that woman.
(okay, this is getting draggy.)
Long story short, she taught me how pass the exam. And pass the exam I did.