If my counting head served me well, I must have spent about 700 pounds just on unsuccessfull lessons. After Peterson rejected me, if you can call that as rejection, I made up my mind to give up driving. I figured I wasn't made for driving, maybe I have some kind of driving handicap in my grey cells.
Anyway, hubby was given another transfer and this time to Malaysia.
We were given this 3-floor detached bangalow in front of The Tengku Mahkota Palace at Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru. Sometimes on weekends, I can see him having polo with his riding buddies or just alone riding his horse.
During that era, taxi fare in Malaysia was RM1.20 for a start and I find it very convenient to just call a cab and hop in. The roads in Johor was too complicated for me to understand and here again came the benefit of cabs for me. But most times, I wouldn't get a cab in time or I would be put on waiting list. That I didn't mind so much but the trouble with taxi drivers in Malaysia was the feeling that I need to make some kind of conversations with them. I always felt like being interviewed. Normal questions would be what would I be doing in that big house because the house-owner was a timber rich-cinaman from Sabah. This question came when I leave my house. Then when I reach the front gate coming home, the question would be like is the rich timber-cinaman my friend sort.
I normally have a favourite taxi cab company to call on and on a few occasions this same driver came to answer my fare-calls. After 4 rides with him, he seemed neighbourly sort of friendly. Whenever I called for a cab rides, he would be there to take my round. He was young, around 30ish, neat long-sleeved shirt, clean-shaved and quite a good-looker.
It happened on a curtain-heavy dark wet day, I went for tea at a Japanese friend's house and as usual he came to take me. He said he would come to pick me after the tea and of course, I was thankful for the kind thought. Saved me the trouble of calling and booking for another cab.
I remember that day, dusk was setting in as I climbed in and I just said to go back home. He knew my house anyway!
Before reaching my house, he detoured at the golf putting range nearby (in front of Tengku's polo ground)and stopped the cab engine. He came out of the cab, opened the back seat door to sit next to me.
He made small talks like "malam nie kita pergi makan sea-food nak?"
I pointed with my finger to my house (I can see my house because it was over a slight slope), and said "situ".
I was sitting straight up, facing front and looking blank, not thinking of anything and he was sitting in the same position, straight and facing front. He took one hand and held it and went on making small talks. I saw other people walking passed the cab and strange thing was, I did not panic. I knew maybe he took to fancy me and want to be closer to me.
I knew I had to remain calm and controlled and I told him, without planning as well, the azan maghrib was so loud because the surau was nearby. He turned his face towards the sound of azan and let go my hand. It was like a finger had snapped in his face and he was awaken immediately. He opened the door, went on his seat, started the engine and drove me home without talking. Reaching my front gate, I gave him the fare but he declined and started the engine to move off. He left without a word and without a backward glance. That was the last time I saw him. Anyway, I remember his cab plate number and sometimes I saw him doing rounds on the roads.
But, I narrated this happening to Shida. Shida was an ex-SIA flight attendant, got married and became full-time wife to a Johor guy. Shida made me realized the more dangerous events that could happened if it was another rough cab driver.
And Shida, like my friend Sally in Wales, insisted I took up driving. In fact, Shida begged me to do it. She made me promised her as well.
I had to do it since I am the amanah-to-promises type of girl.
All I had to do was to call one driving school and the instructor would pick me up to the lesson spot. After getting the price quotations, I settled for a school and after Peterson, came Cik Kassim.
Cik Kassim was 50ish, homely, harmless-dirty jokes type of man. By now, I knew a bit about driving, after all the lessons I had with Peterson. Cik Kassim drove to a parking lot behind the stadium near pasar Larkin. That parking lot became his teaching ground. First thing I said when I touched the wheel was, "Cik Kassim, kereta ini kena buat alignment, semua sengget!"
His just laughed cheekily and said, "takpelah sengget sikit, nanti pandai-pandailah awak ajas (adjust)!"
His car was maybe the 1960 Nissan Datsun model. Longgar everywhere, I hated that car. I hated that car so much and I would have stopped the lesson if not for Cik Kassim tidak apa attitude during lesson. Parallel parking I would knock the corner post and he would say "tak ape", everything tak ape!
I took about 10 lessons and he set me up for the first test in Malaysia with JPJ Johor. I didn't need so much lessons, do I? After all I had 30 lessons done with Peterson. That was what I thought!
Wait for another narative and find out my first test result in Malaysia...jeng, jeng, jenngggg tayangan akan datang.