In case you've been wondering, I've driven three times since passing my test last November, all three times on the motorway. And I'm really bad, my level has deteriorated back to beginner. Possibly worse. I believe Mr Zeus's exact words were "So bad you're a liability."
There are a number of factors getting in my way.
First, I have had no time to practice in the day and Mr Zeus doesn't feel comfortable letting me drive at night.
Second, whenever some free time comes up, the car gets occupied. Twice now something has gone wrong with someone's car and ours has stepped in to help, which is totally fair enough, but it feels like the universe is trying to tell me something.
Third, everything I learnt was in the UK, on the other side of the road and where other drivers make a few allowances for other drivers. In Greece, forget it. I'm not saying I expect the traffic to part before me like the red sea, but here is an example: on the weekend when I was driving on the motorway a car in front began to drift along into my lane. I dropped back, at which the car then moved back into its own lane. As I built my speed back up it again moved across trying to get into my lane, so I panicked and floored it, trying to get away. Result: Mr Zeus thinks I drive like a drunk, my nerves were shred and confidence at an extreme low.
It leads to comedy-like scenes of the two of us bickering as my stress levels build.
Him: "After we pass the BMW, change lanes."
Me: "When? What?"
Him: "After the BMW... change.. lanes."
Me: "But which one is the BMW! WHY CAN"T YOU JUST SAY AFTER THE BLUE CAR!!!"
Him: "You're slowing down... when you change lanes you're supposed to go faster."
Me: "STOP CONFUSING ME!!!"
My most dangerous mistake is when he says to turn left and I merrily do... only I turn left as if I were in the UK and therefore I turn immediately left into oncoming traffic. Bad.
Fourth, all the other cars I learnt in were fairly new with power steering. The one in Athens is a reliable but relatively old Suzuki Swift. I don't know how much I can blame on that... but what the heck I will anyway.
It's driving (pun!) me insane, because at the point where I passed my test I was a good driver. Both my instructors told me I was a natural at driving and safe on the roads.
When I sit on the bus or metro and think of all the time and money I invested in trying to pass my driving test, it makes me feel really frustrated. The licence was supposed to have liberated me, and it hasn't.
Words of advice would be massively appreciated. As you can tell, it's a complaining sort of day for me today.
Image: corrupted from http://taiwanease.com/art/driving-article.jpg