The first step in my mission to acquire a speedy set of two-wheels is, of course, the Learner’s Licence test. It’s simple, in theory. So I phoned 0860GAUTENG, pressed the required random digit to get through to an operator, and requested a booking. My timing was, of course, less than stellar, as I phoned during late December, at a time when none of the scheduled test times were available. Nevertheless, I was put onto the waiting list for the soonest available booking.

I know why it’s called a waiting list. If you’re on it, all you do is wait. The promised SMS confirming a booking never arrived. So two weeks later, early January, I called to see what was going on. They politely informed me I was on the waiting list. That was all they could do. In order to see if bookings had become available I would have to remove myself from the waiting list. Ke? Surely they take people off the top of the waiting list, commonly known as “first come, first served”? Apparently not, so I took the chance, removed my name from the list, went through to another operator who re-checked availability et voila, three dates – (23, 25, and 28) in January were all of a sudden available. I asked if they had anything sooner still, and lo and behold, yes – there was a booking available for the 18th! So I took it.

I was given an ultimatum of paying the very next day, or risking losing the booking, so I took my galoshes down to Centurion Traffic Department and queued for 3 hours in the pouring rain for an eye test. And this time they cannot blame it on lack of equipment – there were four eye machines available, but only one was being manned. Oh, and don’t forget a copy of your ID and some bucks and colourblack&white ID photies – at various stages of my (mis)adventure, I saw some poor souls who had neglected to include all the necessary equipment heading home in a state of desperate gloom.

For the test itself a couple of hours with my nose in the dreaded learners book was all that was needed to brush up on the finer points of misguided traffic department grammar and doublespeak. Salearners.co.za also helped (just don’t try use Firefox).

I was ready to go. Nervous as hell too, because I had a potential seller waiting for me to pass the test, and I didn’t want the deal to fall through. Thankfully, having passed it three times previously (don’t ask) I wasn’t going to bail the fourth time, and I didn’t.

Phase one complete. Many, many more phases to come…

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