Warning: If you think I break grammar rules, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Sometimes I just exist. Just exist waiting for the next big thing to happen so I can start living again. That’s the reason I have not blogged and it’s mid month of my favourite month. Something must seriously be wrong with Shiku, you must have said to yourself. Wonder no more, because here is the lowdown.
The last time I wrote, it was all about my entry into the driving world. I am sure you remember that one. If not, refresh your memory. Well, the fire in Karen finally lit up. Yesterday. Okay, not yesterday as I just picked up this post from yesterday, but Tuesday. Enough with the confusion. FYI, I tend to get inspired to write in traffic. Smh. I brought myself to Westie traffic just because I totally forgot it was mum’s birthday. Like seriously. I forgot my own mother’s birthday. I just couldn’t forgive myself. So here I am, on the other side of town in crazy traffic that came from God knows where. Actually I think I have a clue. When I was coming down I saw people crowding around that Sodom area. That must be it.
Anyhuuuuu, I passed. Let us break that down in paragraphs. I have been driving dad’s vehicles during Sundays. He identified a cop free Road with zero to no traffic. So I got really confident. I was up at 5:15 AM on Tuesday. I normally wake up at 7. Do the math. Dad asked where I was going that early and I told him to ask no questions. I ended up inside Karen Police Station at 7:30 AM in the freezing cold, even though my mum had told me she did the same thing during her time and ended up chilling till 10. I had no idea how the place looked like at that point but once I got in, I breathed out and was like phew, kumbe there are no aliens in here.
You can tell the general direction of the traffic section because that’s where kawaida citizens are seated on a bench in front of the building. I walked towards it and sat myself down away from a group that had formed at the periphery. I hate groups. Groups gathered before tests. Ever since campus. I don’t like how people rile each other up before them. I asked the chick seated next to me if I was in the right place by just a one-word question, driving? And she nodded. Perfect. Now to stir up my test emotions.
I watched people coming in. Mostly kids who look like 17 just left them the previous day. Some were dropped off in nice cars, so they came out in shiny white shoes while the rest of us were wallowing in mud. One tiny girl had all the makings of a rockstar, complete with a lip ring. I began to feel very old. Like what was I doing when I was 18? Anyway, that was just a taste of what was ahead of me. After chilling in the cold, trying to concentrate on the book I was reading, AA Kenya vehicles showed up. And then the men in brown showed up too. Then it slowly dawned on me that different driving schools have different test days. Forms were handed out. Pointless things were said and done. Pointless things that seemed pointless until a certain point. We moved from one point of the compound to another and another. The commandant gave a speech. That was the first point my hope was restored. Hilarious guy. Insisted that cops were human and we should not be afraid. He talked and talked and talked. Thankfully, none of us got to the fainting point before he told us to queue for registration.
From that queue was another queue into the test room. Let me tell you this was the part I hated most. You get in to find the other police officer pointing at signs and at the very same time telling the people who got in before you to “peleka parking” random toy cars on the model town board. I will not lie and tell you I was composed. Very very far from it. I walked up the steps and walked in when he shouted “next!” and fell completely apart. Okay. Slight exaggeration. He pointed to the no u-turn thing and I was like ah, this is all. So I might have been a bit relieved. We have seen that sign since GHC in lower primary. He then pointed to that pointless “Priority to oncoming traffic” sign and I went completely blank. Completely. Like it was not anywhere in my head. I searched. I tried. He pointed again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Crap. I am done here. After all those Uber rides that cost me an arm and a leg it all boils down to this dingy room. He moved to another sign. Nothing. Never seen it in my life. Not in real life. Not on my driving test guide book. Even now, I don’t know what it is. He decided to ask another very young girl the same one and she was like blurting the answers like she was being asked her name. I now firmly believed I was very old and had lost the ability to remember stuff. Christ Jesus have mercy.
Mr Traffic Policeman decided to have mercy (thank Jesus) and pointed to two more signs which I remembered by the grace of God. Then he went all “peleka parking” on me too. So I was like, great, I got this. At the same time, there was someone else pelekaing another toy car parking and another person identifying signs. It’s like these people intentionally want us to get confused and freaked out in there. I moved the car, switching lanes nini nini. Kufika roundabout I remembered. The car in front was meant to be a barrier. Which makes no sense in real life because that would be a moving car, no? But yeah, that was a barrier. I almost gave up at this point, especially after Mr said ati nilikuja kubahatisha. Lol. At this point I actually laughed at myself, but I decided to move the car back and start afresh. Took exit. Parked. “Toka hapa!” he screamed and I jumped out.
At this point, everyone who has gone through this process is in little groups discussing their experience. Half of us don’t know what is our fate. Especially Shiku. We wait. For very long. Finally after we’ve been moved around the compound again, it’s time for the actual driving. The BCE guys (yes, most of them are guys, only four girls took the class) are told to sit behind the lorry. We stand beside it. Mr comes over and makes the four girls get out of the lorry and join us. He complains about a guy with shaggy hair. He asks who is above 30 among us. Says ladies don’t accept their ages. Eventually, the lady above 30 raises her hand and just like that, she’s given a free pass! At this point I am like, what the hell?!!!!! Here I am thinking I am old. Just four years and I would have got that free pass. Lol. The Kenyan driving test is a joke and a half. We are made to wait again. The dudes drive off in the lorry.
After eons, Mr Traffic Commandant comes over. Apparently, we the E girls are just going to move the car around just within the compound. Okay. Sounds good to me. I hate manual cars enough already. Again, why do we even test in them even if we’re not going to use them ever? Hello? Tesla is coming up with self-driving cars and we’re testing with manual cars? How does that even make sense? It’s like going to computer class to learn Microsoft 98. Or Visual Basic. Which I am thinking a lot of Kenyan “computer colleges” still teach, but hey, those are also another big joke! Anyway, yeah, we’re driving. I am always among those people who are freaked out somewhere within them but always on the front of the queue. No need delaying the doom if it’s eventually going to hit you anyway. All we need to do is move the car back and forth. My turn comes. I cannot lift the handbrake of this car as usual. This Mr is very sweet though. He lifts it for me. And then I am to reverse the car. Start. Lift the very annoyingly short clutch. Balance acceleration. Nada. Car zimas. Argh. Fine. Again. Same thing.
“Wanjiku, ikizima, mara nne, ujue unatoka,” Mr pronounces.
At this point my life flashes in front of my eyes. No Shiku. No. Start the car and reverse! The grace of God abounds and the car moves. Moving it forward is not a big deal. And just like that my test is over. Still anxious on whether I will get my form back. I watch all the other girls and three men go through the same thing. And every time the car stalls, I begin to see how pointless this whole thing is. Except making me very anxious and old, I have achieved very little so far. Except maybe realizing that policemen are people. The Mr who was asking the theory questions is now very nice to me. He also mentions, after glancing at the “26 YRS” I scribbled on my form, that I should no longer be called Shiku because I am too old for that name. To cut the long story short, except the very few who gave up, we all pass. We pay the M-Pesa for the IDL and go our separate ways. Mshindwe nyinyi nyote mlioniambia nitaanguka juu nilienda Harvard ya Driving School. Lol. How are you my friends? Yes, now I can fill myself. (Sorry, direct translation. Today I am breaking every grammar rule in the book. Glad you noticed.)
So, I have written this post all week. Don’t get confused by the day references. Yesterday, I drove myself to work with very little instruction. I still need to work on the right turns. I couldn’t estimate correctly when we got to the petrol station or the gate at Karen Road. But my dad be the best. His text to me after that went exactly like this:
“Hi.by the way keep up the good spirit in driving,next time pima gate yenu vizuri usifungie Ruto,you becoming better each day,thanks”.
If you got the joke, give me a high five. Also, sometimes, someone close to you will preach to you and will not even know it. Evelyn sent me this verse before the day and just like that, I had renewed strength. Her chat went exactly like this:
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
I like that verse . I will remember it every time I am feeling shy
Btw, just in case your’e wondering, the BCE girls got a free pass too. There’s your leakage, B and Keep.
Moral of the story: Do not give up. It doesn’t hurt to try. More importantly, practice, not tests, makes perfect.