When I was 17 (about to turn 18) I was in the process of what many young boys were doing at the time – Learning how to drive. I was out in Regional Victoria at this time and my choices of driving instructors was fairly limited. So from the 2 – 3 options, I chose one that seemed to be fairly reputable.

She was quite a largish lady, with a mole on her chin (with hairs coming out of it) and when I first spoke to her regarding pricing and such – she was actually quite nice and pleasant. But when I started driving with her, she became the Dragon Lady! I was a young guy, who was really was struggling in learning how to drive (especially a manual).  This lady really helped me understand the expression of “They have driven me to drink!”

She would non-stop do everything an instructor probably shouldn’t:

– Yelled at me consistently.

– Accused me of not listening.

– Said I will “Never Get it” in time for the exam.

– Put me down generally.

– Even slap my leg when I made a mistake. Yes you heard me!

The thing was, that I was really trying my best – and all I got out of her was a kick in the chops.  But I thought “Well, she is the driving instructor” so I ignored my own judgement at the time.  I would just be so nervous in the car with her which really impacted what little driving skill I had.  Besides, standing up to bullies has never been my specialty (until I got better at it in my late 20’s). Then came my driving test – in the car was myself, the Vic Roads Assessor and our friendly Dragon Lady herself.  We used her car (which was a piece of crap I may add).  Anyway, she made me so nervous prior and during that I ended up failing my test.

I then thought, “Ok you stupid Sod – Time to do it my way”.  I then ceased using her services and did the next driving test myself in my mothers car – and I passed with flying colours! (and saved $150!). The lesson here is obvious to me now, but I keep thinking about it over and over again and think:

– Why did I pick her?

– Why did I put up with her rubbish?

– After I passed the exam, why didn’t I pick up the phone and abuse her?

– Why do I devalue myself so much? If someone pushed someone else around like that in front of me I would stop them, but why not protect myself?

I think a good lesson from this is that you must protect your own interests and never let ANYONE push you around! Be it work, friendship, people you work with – always stand your ground! I am not saying go and pick a fight with your local Policeman or tell the ATO what you think of them, but you know what I mean. I cannot remember what she looked like, but I promise you if I ever saw her in the street I would certainly throw my shoes at her. Perhaps one day I will forgive her!  (NOT)


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