Monday, 31 March 2014
When I was a driving instructor..............
I spent twenty years working as a driving instructor in the Cambridge area of the UK. I used to love it at one time, but as I got older I found the sense of humour diminishing and that is something one really needs in that job. It left me completely the day a lady from Algiers got in my car and asked, very seriously, if it would be all right for her to drive on the right!
Of course, we drive on the left in the UK and my first response was to tell her she should not be allowed out on foot, never mind behind the wheel of a car!
After a couple of weeks, she asked me who looked after my dogs when I was out. I told her they were fine on their own, to which she replied: "Oh, are you allowed to do that here?"
"Do what? Leave dogs on their own? Of course you are."
"So," she says, "if I have a baby I won't have to give my job up, it will be all right on its own!"
Yeah, that'll be fine. Social Services will come and take it away.
So you can see where the patience went out of the window with the sense of humour, can't you?
One lesson with a teenaged boy ended with us being stopped by the police and my pupil being dragged out of the car and handcuffed. Apparently they had been looking for us for two hours; he had beaten his mother up, assaulted a police woman who tried to arrest him, then got in my car and carried on with his driving lesson.
Two police cars crept up behind us and I was just wondering why they didn't either go past or put their stop sign on, when the first one shot past, pulled in and stopped and the second one boxed us in. It was very cleverly done.
I mentioned to the police officer that we would have been home in a minute and was informed that they didn't want him to get in the house because it took the armed force to get him out last time!
It got even funnier when his mother rang six months later wanting to book him some more lessons!
When I taught manual (stick shift to my US readers) I would explain the gears by telling people what gear they needed, generally speaking, for what speed. So I was sitting at the traffic lights in Cambridge one day, and about 20 feet in front of us was a 40 mph speed limit sign. When the lights turned green, she put the car into fourth gear. I asked her why we were in fourth gear, because we were not going anywhere in fourth gear, and she said "that sign says 40; you told me I needed fourth gear for 40". So then I realised why, when going along windy little country lanes not suitable for more than 20 mph, she would put it into fifth gear - because the road sign said national speed limit (which is 60 in England on single carriageway roads).
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