26 October, 2014

Day of Tests and Police Stations

When I got to school last Monday, my teacher popped into the hallway to ask if I wanted to take the modultest at noon that day. I had planned to take it by the end of October, but I did not feel particularly prepared at that exact moment. After my heart rate returned to normal, I decided that I could probably stumble through it, and why not just get it over with?

It was actually a bit anti-climactic, the test. Out of five pre-prepared topics, I randomly selected to speak about just one. Next, I looked at a picture and asked questions about it for one minute. Both segments went well, so just like that, I moved to module two, no panic necessary.

After class, I had to go to the police station to apply for a re-entry permit for our upcoming trip to New York as I had not yet received my residence card. While I waited for my number to be called, I absently read the declaration of consent on the form I had filled out. The warm feelings from having just passed my modultest cooled slightly on reading that I had consented to 'letting the relevant authorities make enquiries about my entirely private affairs'. Private affairs, sure, but the entirely private ones? Anyway, my residence card came in the post yesterday, so now it's irrelevant.

Then after that, I went to another branch of the police to take my driving theory test. Out of seven students, four of us were taking it for the first time, one for the second, and two for the third. All of us were nervous. The test evaluator called us up one by one to take our forms and check our ID. I also had to give him my temporary driving permit.

'I have to keep this if you don't pass, you know,' he said pointedly. I nodded solemnly. 'But never mind, you'll pass.'

The knot in my stomach persisted through all twenty-five questions. Afterwards in the waiting area, we discussed some of the ambiguities of the test. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I needed twenty correct answers to pass.

The evaluator returned with our tests. He winked as he delivered mine, my little paper driving permit sticking out of the top. Yes! Those of us who passed exchanged oddly enthusiastic hugs of relief for people who hardly knew each other. We commiserated with those who had not passed. One sweet little woman had failed for the third time. 'I think I'm getting worse,' she said, looking crestfallen.

Next on my to-do list: pass the practical driving test, and get through module two.