As the title may (loosely) imply, today was full of unexpected surprises. Three of them, to be accurate – all of which are listed below, in chronological order (which also happens to be the order when you list them in order of undesirability).
Surprise #1: Was woken up an hour earlier than usual.
This might not seem like that much of a surprise to the rest of you normal human beings with your healthy sleep patterns (you lucky, lucky bastards), but to my body with its messed up Circadian rhythms and its general lack of grasp on the Earth’s rotation and the fairly consistent timings of the daylight hours, this is the sensory equivalent of being woken up after sleeping for three days on a mound of jagged rocks, and then realizing that you have no food or water. Soreness, grogginess, headache, dehydration/malnourishment. And pissy attitude – that just comes with waking me up before noon by default, unfortunately.
The reason for this early(-ish) awakening was that we apparently still weren’t/aren’t through with all of the bureaucratic nonsense you have to go through when you emmigrate. We had to go and apply for our new Australian driver’s licenses in Joondalup. My bro and I had to apply for learner’s permits, and my parents needed to renew their UK ones.
It was a fairly simple undertaking, but it prompted to think that this would just be another of those pointless and futile outings to, ostensibly, sort something out “officially” with the state, but in reality, to piss off and confuse everyone involved and achieve essentially nothing. It really makes me wonder why Australia can’t just recognize you as an Australian citizen when you… turn up.
“G’day mate! Welcome to our beautiful country! Just a quick question, what’s this country’s name?”
“Correct and congratulations! Here’s your citizenship. The celebratory barbie’s just over there – mind the roos.”
When we got to the place where we needed to do all this, in Joondalup, we had to wait about half an hour or so to actually be called up to one of the counters. It had one of those systems where you walked in, got a ticket with a letter and number on it (like B145) and then whenever one counter was finished with a customer, the next ticket got called up. The previous time we’d encountered such a system was a week or two ago when we went to apply for Medicare – we got the ticket and had no sooner sat down than we got called up. Unfortunately, we were having no such luck today.
Eventually we got called up to deal with our applications. I was asked to fill out a form, which I did, and then to pay $17 for the application, which I did. Then this happened:
Surprise #2: On paying for my learner’s permit, I was told to go into the “test room”, complete my theory test and then return to the inquiries desk for my results.
So here’s where Australia truly shows how differently it handles things to the UK.
It begs the question: why does the theory test come before everything else? How can anyone, if they’re only applying for their learner’s permit, answer the questions to such an impromptu test in a reliable/sensible manner? What if that person’s never been in a car their whole life? (It’s unlikely, of course – but say you cycled to and from wherever you needed to go to since you were a youth, only travelling as a passenger in a car in emergency/cross-country outings, and certainly not paying much mind to the rules of the road. See what I’m getting at?)
What if they’re an idiot like me who can’t be trusted to do anything right?
Now, like any theory test, it required one to recap the knowledge previously learnt and think logically in order to apply it. Unfortunately, it turns out that I’m crap at thinking logically. On the test itself there were several questions pertaining to “which car should give way” and I’m sure that if I had some degree of logical thinking ability I would’ve aced them. It seems that a bunch of diagrams containing simple road layouts, clearly positioned cars and arrows indicating which direction they’re travelling in, gets translated in my head into a whole-page spread of that Alienese language from Futurama.
This is awfully weird for me – I’m a creative kinda dude and I’m usually one to think with imagery. And it wasn’t as though I was under a tremendous amount of pressure to complete the test – there was a 35 minute time-limit but there were only 30 multiple-choice questions. Some of the questions were also piss-easy, like “should you always wear a seat belt” and “what should you do when you see a STOP CHILDREN sign”. It should’ve been a breeze because I’d taken lessons – but the knowledge had just evaporated, which sort of confirms the belief I have that I’m finding it incredibly difficult to learn anything now. I honestly wonder if it’s a disability.
When I got the results back I wasn’t expecting anything stellar – far from it. 16/30 – a fail (the pass mark is 24). Oh well, at least I scored more than fifty perc-
HOW DID MY BROTHER SCORE TWENTY. WHAT THE SHITTING HELL.
So we all left a bit bemused – not one of us had been aware that my brother and I had to take tests. I kinda felt disheartened about the whole thing – I was pretty sure I’d be getting my learner’s permit and at the end of the wretched hour-and-three-quarters that we spent in that building, I’d left short of $17 and my self-confidence. My brother, who had not taken a driving lesson in his life, scored four more points than me. Just went some way to proving even more unquestionably that somewhere deep inside… I’m an idiot.
We got home and had some lunch, because I hadn’t had anything all day. When you stay in bed for so long that you have all of 10 minutes to get dressed, gather up a load of paperwork and get out the door, feeding oneself becomes a somewhat lower priority.
So I settled down at my computer to chew over the events of the day. Then instead I opened up Reason and started doing some more productive stuff. Because today was pretty dumb, let’s face it.
Surprise #3: We received a call from the moving company, telling us that our furniture would be arriving tomorrow.
For those of you who’ve been keeping track of my blog, this is the same furniture that took four men four days to pack into a gigantic lorry, which was then transported to a container ship which spent about 7 or 8 weeks travelling the ocean to Perth.
There is… to put it mildly, a lot of stuff there.
So, we’re expecting some absolute chaos tomorrow. They’ll be around as early as 8:30am, so I’m told. At that point I’ll probably still be comatose, and everybody else will just be angry and stressed out for legitimate reasons. Oh, what fun. 🙁