How to be a failure

I’m a big, fat failure and it’s time I come clean about what’s happened, just so I can get it off my chest. I’ve been depressed and crying on and off for two days and the only way I know how to get the burden off of me is to write about.

Right. Here goes.

I failed my driving test again. Third time. I drive okay in lessons, but fail the tests. This time I colossally failed and the instructor abandoned the exam. Why? Because I didn’t understand the rules of the road. After bus in front of me signalled that it was stopping at the bus stop, I tried to pass it. The bus decided to keep going and muscled me over into the other lane. Examiner had to tell me to slow down, then I stalled once he aborted my mission. I knew I failed then and there but didn’t know that I could have abandoned the test myself. (I honestly considered that the bus driver was at fault because he did signal left.)

After I knew I failed after that awful occurrence, I turned onto the wrong side of a sectioned street. Of course there are no signs that say “DO NOT ENTER” or “WRONG WAY” the little lines on the road are just implied. For a country that houses the English language, they certainly don’t like writing any of it anywhere important.

After I sat there, crying on the phone to Steve, in my driver’s ed car while someone from the DVLA brought my instructor back, I just knew I was never going to be able to do this. I’ve been taking tests for almost a year and I don’t know to not pass a bus on a certain road. Lord knows there aren’t any lane markings or signs that tell you “no overtaking.” I don’t know for sure what signs and markings of roads mean half the time anyway. There are five or more different things to be concerned about all the time. It’s not like in the States where we just worry about other cars and drive defensively. Until you drive here as a Floridian, you just have no idea how confusing this all is. But people do it. They pass. But I can’t.

Steve thinks most of the problem is the instruction I’ve been given. Most of the time the instructor shouts at me or is says something condescending like, “If you have to ask about parking now, you shouldn’t be taking a test.” Well, maybe that’s just it. Maybe I shouldn’t have even considered taking a test so soon. I tried to get the gist of how the roads work but the instructor doesn’t understand how difficult it is for me. He’s even said things like, “You mean to tell me that roads in America are really that different?” As if I’m making an excuse for just not “paying attention” and “thinking about what I’m doing.”

I just feel so completely stupid for thinking I could do this. Steve tells me all the time that I rush things and don’t look at all the details. If that’s true, then I shouldn’t do anything. I don’t see everything that I need to know. I try. I do my best, but it just doesn’t click. And it’s dang frustrating to not have all the puzzle pieces and not even know how to get them.

It’s just like my stupid lack of a career. I wanted to be an English major, so I went to college, thinking (and being told) that I will easily be able to become an English teacher with that degree. Of course that wasn’t the case and I spent hundreds of dollars on printer ink and gas money just trying to interview for jobs I didn’t have a chance at getting. It was like that with the Master’s degrees too. I thought (and was told) that I should work at the college, so I got the degree. After I got there, I was told there was no chance of having full time work. Then I got a library degree because supposedly jobs were all over the place now that people were retiring. I don’t stand a chance at getting a library job now. I can’t just volunteer or be an intern anywhere, my resume has teaching jobs, so they think I’m not serious about wanting to be a librarian in the first place.

Basically, I’m tired of wasting time. I’m wasting Steve’s money on tests and lessons. I’ve wasted my time trying for things that were never going to happen to begin with but I never saw the whole picture. I guess naive is the word for it. Everything I do has to be done over and over until I get it right. Nothing (aside from writing, I guess) comes natural to me. The only thing good I’ve done in my life is married Steve and moved away from the insanity which is Florida. However, the rest of the things that I need to have a normal, productive life just don’t click for me like they do for other people.

But I did get a job. The morning before my driving test I got a call confirming that I am going to be teaching at the college, with a chance of getting full-time work. I’m over the moon about this, because this is the job I really wanted. Right after the call, I had the driving test fiasco, then had to go to the college to get my schedule and discuss the details. Of course this unwelcoming country has given me no tangible evidence that I am still eligible to work in the U.K. while my Indefinite Leave to Remain application is in progress, so I may only be able to work for a couple of weeks until my silly ID card gets sent in the mail.

England; the country where they make it hard for Americans to work, drive cars, or find flavoured ground coffee.

At least we have a Krispy Kreme now. Whether or not I’ll ever be able to go through a drive-thru here is probably not going to happen. The idea of driving again with another instructor seems ridiculous. I’d love to be able to drive but with crazy roads and rules I don’t comprehend after 10 months of lessons, I just don’t know anymore.

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About Suzanne Schultz Pick

Married to Steve. One cat named Jake. Librarian IT Assistant. Writer, teacher, blogger, technological princess.
This entry was posted in All About Me, Employment, Teaching, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to be a failure

  1. Viv says:

    Oh I so understand this and I was born and grew up here. I took five tests to finally pass. I took lessons in 3 cities, over about 8 years, and finally managed to pass on my fifth go. The key was an instructor I liked and felt happier to drive with, who told me all the time I could do it and I would.
    We were living in such an isolated place it was impossible to live without being able to drive. But after a few years I totally lost confidence driving in fog, then in the dark until now I find myself phobic about driving. I don’t know why.
    Anyway, well done on getting the job. The driving will come together in time. I promise.

  2. C.K. says:

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Suzanne. It sounds like the instructor didn’t do a proper job of preparing you (plus he sounds like a right a-hole!). I’m a terrible, terrible driver and am eagerly awaiting the time when cars will be able to drive themselves. I just don’t seem to have the focus – or spatial relations knack either 😦 My poor husband has to do all the driving.

    Maybe you could take a break from the driving lessons and let the frustration fade?

    On a happier note, Krispy Kreme & a job. Great stuff! Congrats on the job. That’s wonderful news.

    I know how you feel about some of the other things you mentioned here too. Things never really seem to slot in neatly for me the way they do for other people. I have a film studies degree but never really intended to write reviews for a living. I just have this weird mishmash of non-career type jobs behind me (and probably ahead of me too!). But having a good guy and a love of writing puts us ahead in other areas, I think. They’re just more difficult to quantify. I think this is often the way it is for artists of any type. If we compare ourselves with people in more traditional fields we can’t check the same boxes they can.

    Anyway, I hope tomorrow is a better day, but I feel like I really know where you’re coming from.

  3. Thank you both so much. It’s such a disappointment when you can’t just have what you’re aiming for after a lot of hard work. Oh well, I’ll get it eventually.

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