Driving lessons with Thomas. Some wise advice

When I turned eighteen two thoughts were spinning in my head. The first one told me to buy a bike and drive as fast as I could. The second one told me not to buy a bike since I would collect fines like magpies collects shiny stuff. Boring story: the second thought survived and I decided not to buy a bike. But, as you can expect, the first thought lingered on my mind like a song you can’t get rid of until you have heard it again. The tune had to be played someday.

"A life of hard work, studying and profound concentration…"

A couple of years later, when I moved to Rotterdam, I gave it the first shot. Via a cheap deal I started my driving lessons, passed my theoretical exam, and the first of two practical exams (in The Netherlands there are two mandatory practical exams, special maneuvers and traffic participation). After a big celebration of my first success, I turned back to my ascetic lifestyle. A life of hard work, studying and profound concentration…

During the following days of strolling in the library I stated to myself: ‘Thomas, in two weeks you will start your second exam’. Two weeks passed and again I stated to myself: ‘Thomas, in two weeks you start your second exam, and this time for real’. As the attentive reader may already notice, a strange form of persistence started to slip in this story. And so it happened, after 26 times repeating this story, the results of my first exam aged and thus became invalid.

"The secondary conditions always suck"

Now, fast way forward, to 2018. Tessa and I just decided to get our driving license and buy a motorbike. Again, like years ago, I found a cheap deal (proper Dutch) and went for it. I wanted to start a.s.a.p., which happened to be in November. Excellent timing to start your driving lessons. Why? Only late in the evening the sunsets, outside it’s still warm, and in general, it doesn’t rain too much… This, of course, is not the case. At 16:30 the sun is fully set, it’s dark, cold and rains all day. Not something you would recommend a beginning rider. But when proper materials are provided, you would manage. Now this is the moment cheap deals show their true colors: the secondary conditions always suck. The provided hand gloves were two pieces of leather resembling a brown Swiss cheese. The in-ear set, for one-way communication, was a little hedgehog. And at last, which really was the cherry on the cake, no motorbike trousers were provided. This meant two hours driving around in 0 degrees, wearing only denim jeans. After the second lesson I returned home so cold that my teeth were drumming like a congo band. Party hard!

"This process was the purest form of utilitarianism"

All kidding aside, in the end this process was the purest form of utilitarianism. The means of reaching the destination were not important. The job simply had to be finished. Eventually, it did. I bought proper clothing and boots, went back on that bike and passed everything in one go. So now, eight years after my first attempt, I own a pretty cool bike (although not a fast one).


Final note. Unfortunately, I did collect fines the first month – but let’s not go into that.