December 12, 2003

the uphill test story

Circa 1994, when I was 17. It was the day I sit for my driving test. Back then, I was required to take a total of 4 tests to get a full pass. One of them was called ‘the uphill test’ – which the examinee was made to drive up a steep slope without fucking up.

Here’s exactly how it goes : The examinee is required to drive the car halfway up a steep slope, and stop when the front wheels of the car are right on top of a box (painted on the slope). Then yank the handbrake and switch off the engine. Examining officer will evaluate if the wheels are inside the box. Once ascertained, the officer will give a signal, and the examinee shall start the engine again and ascent the remaining of the slope from static without stalling or going astern. Only 2 attempts are allowed.

It was a test that dreaded by many but not me. ‘The uphill test’ was way below my standard. To me, it was as easy as lifting my ass cheek to rip out a rhythmic fart. I totally have no problem with it.

But the story I was about to tell, is not really about how awesome I was. It is about something that I witnessed that day. It happened while I was waiting for my turn to sit for that ‘uphill test’.

There was a big crowd waiting for ‘the uphill test’. I had waited the whole morning and I remembered seeing many teenagers around my age failing for that ‘uphill test’. They’re almost all the fucking same boring routine. And most of them were girls. But one of them stood out like a sore dick in a sea of rotten beavers and burned an impression so deep in memory… that I graded it as one of the wackiest shit I’ve ever seen in my life.

The girl was about my age. Scrawny and pale in complexion (probably nervous and very scared). From the moment I saw her, I reckoned that she’s going to chicken out the very last minute, but she got to a good start. She managed to make that car climb up the slope and stop right inside the box. Not bad – I thought. I was probably wrong after all. But I was too quick to judge for the second time that day.

When the examiner flagged for her to start the engine and continue to ascend the slope, she started to get really nervous. I was looking right into her windows when that happened and I could see her sweating like she was in a sauna. She frantically cranked the engine, stepped on her gas pedal and released the fucking handbrake. See what went wrong? She forgot to step on the clutch and engage a gear. The end result was pretty much predictable – the car glided down the slope backwards.

That was when her panic went apex. She went into a temporary stupor… and completely lost her senses to even stop the gliding (backwards and downwards) car! The next few split seconds were really fucking hilarious – now, instead of stepping on the brake pedal, miss panic here decided to climb out of the car window to abandon car (yeah, it didn’t come across her mind that the door can be opened as well). Pretty much like what most doomed sailors would do in the event of the ship sinking. She was about halfway successful doing that when her quick thinking instructor came flying to her rescue and shoved her right back in and grabbed the steering from the windows.

and the only thing that she had in her mind was probably “I’M GONNA FUCKING DIE! I’M GONNA FUCKING DIE!”. She even forgot how to stop the car from gliding further.

“Brake bitch! brake!” the instructor shouted.

But she was too stunned to be able to react to anything. The poor instructor had to stop the car by dragging his feet on the ground for several more meters. The entire blooper reminded me of those goofy actions of superman trying to stop a speeding train.

The blooper got the whole crowd of spectators in stitches – everyone erupted into a fit inducing laugh and there were gallons of tears squirting out from a few hundred eyes. Although I did spare some conscience for that unfortunate girl but it was simply unbearable. It was so downright stupid and dumb, that it’ll be suicidal to suppress myself. So, I decided to fuck it – I laughed hard and suffered some cramps.

After that, she got her second chance to for the uphill test again. With tears still wet in the eyes, the crowd watched in anticipation. But it wasn’t too much of a suspense, as she got the entire thing repeated again. The exact same thing. This time, it wasn’t that mild. The crowd exploded and laughed harder. I myself laughed so fucking hard, that I had to squat down to avoid injury.

It was classic, and somewhat of a relief for the boring afternoon under the hot sun. It was blooper that had to be retold again and again as an unbelievable and yet entertaining story (at the expense of somebody’s misfortune…) And that’s exactly what I did during the lunch break that day, in a nearby shack cafe to a bunch of my new found friends who missed the event (yep, I make friends everywhere I go..). When we’re laughing at the story loudly inside that canteen, I realized that the scrawny girl was just sitting behind me — with a pale & mortified look. Shame on me for being such a tool – I should have looked around before telling my tale…

The girl of course flunked her driving test… along with her self respect and dignity.

Nervous girl… if you are reading this blog from somewhere, I just wanted to say that I was sorry for what I did at the JPJ canteen, and to blog this out…

michaelooi  | flashbacks  | 

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