i failed my road test (praktische prüfung)

I had an acutely crappy day today. Acutely crappy days are pretty rare for me; more often I feel a vague sense of anxiety, restlessness, dissatisfaction, unfulfilment, or even ennui, but only once in a while does something specific happen that adds a focused type of anger, disappointment, frustration, confusion or helplessness to the general unhappiness. Today was one of those days: today I failed my road test.

It wasn’t even 9am yet and I’d already fucked up – and knew it. Didn’t stop at a line I was supposed to stop at fast enough. I cried afterwards, of course. It was raining cats and dogs and as I unlocked my trusty two-wheeled non-motorised preferred mode of personal transportation, I stood under the pouring rain, rain jacket in hand and quick-dry pants stowed away in my backpack, jeans and socks cold and sopping wet for over an hour already, and managed to differentiate between the rainwater and tears on my face based on taste. I biked slowly to work, jacket open. Melodramatic? Yeah, but melodrama is kinda my thing. Has been since adolescence and I just never grew out of it (and likely never will). I indulged this ridiculous “woe is me” visual for a few more blocks before 30 years’ worth of common sense prevailed and I zipped up.

What was it? Why did I need to cry? I knew I wasn’t a particularly good driver, so it wasn’t disappointment. The examiner was kind and right to fail me, so it wasn’t a sense of injustice. It wasn’t a stupid or easily avoidable mistake, so it wasn’t frustration or regret or anger at myself. It was simply… failing. The general, nauseating feeling of failing something that was achievable.

The pity party of and for one continued the rest of the morning and into the afternoon.

The one person I really wanted to talk to wasn’t available. Let’s throw a bit of insecurity and maybe heartbreak into the mix.

Then an email arrived from my ultimate frisbee team, asking if we shouldn’t cancel today’s beach training due to the 17°C temperature, showers forecast, and 32km/h winds. A physically unpleasant practice was exactly what my mood demanded so I added my name to those who said they’d be there.

And what a practice! One of my favourite activities and with people I liked. Exercise = endorphins… just what the doctor ordered. For over two hours I barely gave driving a thought, if at all.

This was probably just a long-winded way for me to say how effective sports can be in dampening emotional distress. (Angry sprints or pissed-off push-ups, anyone?) So, good thing I have a tournament this weekend. Two days running my legs ragged, away from Rostock… yeah! Fuck cars! Fuck driving!

When I got home after practice tonight there were cars parked on my corner so far into the intersection that there was barely space between the two vehicles where they met perpendicularly to push my bike through. This happens most nights, but based on the day I’d had, I decided I’d had enough. I fetched my camera and created Exhibit A of the parking violations, which I’m 100% going to send – with an irreverent amount of pleasure – to the fines office that deals with this crap along with a nicely penned complaint letter. And since it happens on an almost daily basis, I’m going to keep sending photos until something is done to permanently dissuade drivers from parking like the inconsiderate assholes they are.

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