Obtaining my Greek citizenship last year, brought into affect a chain of events, which not only forced me to revert back to my maiden name, but also led me to re-take my driving test in order to obtain a Greek licence. After ascertaining that the standard of the driving test here is actually rather high, I just had to ask my driving instructor. “Why is it, given the standard of driving instruction is notably high, are there so many bad drivers here in Greece?” I held my breath in anticipation of his provoked, heated response, something along the lines of… “get out of my car!” Instead, I saw his face contort into a series of impossible to interpret, grimaces. After giving my question due consideration, he decided to spill the truth. A truth, that perhaps a few of us already suspected. Many drivers obtained their licence by, let`s say, not so legal means, and didn`t actually sit the true exam! “Noooo!” I exclaimed, feigning indignation. “I don`t believe it!!” He gaily notified me of this nugget of truth as he wound the window down and hurled a plastic bag out of the car into the wind! As I slowed down to stop at the STOP sign, which he had previously, explicitly instructed me, that all vehicles MUST be brought to an absolute standstill before passing the stop sign, he gestured impatiently for me to pass without stopping! After I had pulled over so he could pick up his morning coffee, I made an executive decision. I considered that I had reached the required level and obligatory number of hours of driving instruction and will await the actual test, rather than endure further lessons.
Having passed the first two hurdles, (two theory tests – one for the car and one for the motorbike – which entailed me learning over three hundred road signs, road priorities etc, whereupon the theory exam required me to correctly answer a minimum of 29 out of 30 questions to gain the certificate, I am forced now, to wait out a strike, which is holding up the practical driving test itself. Nevertheless, I am confident that I will soon hold both a Greek and a UK driving licence. Barring any unpredictable events that is……
This rigmorol presented the usual mental gridlock (`scuse the pun). A clash between my basic, disciplined standards, deep rooted in my innermost self, my perceived ideas of how things “should” be done – and how things are actually done here. The result – inflammation of that damned enduring thorn in my side once more.
The only way to stay sane? Wham some Sudacrem on that itchy thorn, slap on a plaster and hope the irritation goes away swiftly!