Ugh. Can't sleep this morning. Atrocious dream about watching a pessimistic volcano survival documentary while a murderer broke into our holiday flat. At least that's made me too tired to be very nervous about today's meeting.
Speaking of, nerves beat parsimony and I ordered four extra hours of driving practice. The ex-cop who guides me during the sessions seemed to know that means I really don't want to fail the exam in a week in a half, so he cracked down and got all martial with me. 'Alright - scan the intersection - scan, scan - pedestrian sign changed - take your foot off the brake - relax on the clutch - release - give it gas! But don't hit that black guy!* Okay, now more! More! More! Second gear! More gas! Pretend your husband has been kidnapped and he's in the car ahead! You can't lose them! Pretend that adorable puppy in the car is your husband! Hit the gas! Third! Gas! Give it some fishing!* Fourth! There, now you're driving like a normal person. Scan! Scan the street! Why are you slowing down? WHY ARE YOU STOPPING? It's priority from the right, my cabbage!* Don't hesitate! You check the priority and you go, go, go! No, no, first gear! Now step on the gas!" It was stressful but fun and I feel marginally more ready for the exam. And it was nice to make the car go rrrrrrr. Nine more hours of practice to go.
Baywatch commented yesterday that all the rigmarole associated with getting your license here hasn't seemed to make Belgians better drivers than in places where the test I'm shitting myself over is a non-event, and he's right. People are really atrocious drivers here - getting into accidents all over the place and doing jaw-droppingly stupid things on a secondly basis. In view of their monumental suck I admit I wonder how hard the test can possibly be. . . but it's probably quite hard. My feeling is that learning how to drive here is just like the general French/Francophone Belgian educational system; you're not training people to not be retards, you're training them to pass an exam. Also traffic police are a complete non-presence in town. There's nobody checking up on you - just some speed cameras and blaring horns - so people have full rein to drive with their ids*.
*Belgian ex-cop, not a French one, obviously
*Belgian idiom for 'do it with balls'*
*Continental French idiom for 'sweetie'
*Freud is only good for traffic
*Just had a chat with my perfectly bilingual boss, who exlained the expression 'mis de la pêche!' makes slightly more sense than my translation 'give it some fishing!' - 'pêche' there is actually 'peach', homophonous with 'fishing' in French. I still don't get it, but there you are.