Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Secret to Success

I did my driving test yesterday. I don't know how many times I've done since I have to take off work to go, and it costs an arm, a leg and 2 manicured toenails. Since I've let 6 months laps between when I started the procedure and yesterday's test, I had to do the whole thing over from scratch. New application, written test, eye exam...

I finished all that stuff, and was sitting inthe waiting room killing time until I could do the actual driving test.


Huh, I thought. The Licence Center staff call me, "Gittens-san." I remember it really well because they are the only people in Japan that do. (Way back when, someone told Japan that in the West we go by our first names, and they think it means always. For some weird reason there is one lady at the bank who calls me "Dawn-Marie-san." Not sure what boat she's on...)

I looked up to see my friend Ryusuke. I know him through hip-hop dancing. But he's also one of my driving instructors.

CRAP!!! He was there for some refresher course with a bunch of other driving school instructors. So much for sneaking off in secret and never telling them if I failed. (Japan's Driving Test has little to do with ability to drive and lots to do with protecting ridiculous rules. I learned that the first time I failed and the examiner was like, "Well, it's not that you can't drive but...")

Up until that point, I'd been totally relaxed - or at least relaxed about the driving test. I periodically freak out about my impending unemployment, and all else pales in comparison. But from the moment I saw Ryusuke that changed. Now I had to pass. Otherwise I'd have to step off the course and possibly run right in to him and look him in the face and tell him I suck.

Yesterday's driving test may be the worst I've ever driven in my life. It was not at all a smooth ride, but I made a point of exaggeratedly obeying all the rules. And somehow, I passed! As soon as the printed out the license (finally, I understood the pain of people who have mugshot-licenses)  I ran over to the restaurant the driving instructors were eating at.

"Ja-jan!" (Ta-da in Japanese) I shouted as I whipped, out my card!
"Yokatta!" (Yay!) Ryusuke's face broke into a smile. He's been after me since I started lessons... When are you taking the test Claire? Why haven't you taken a test lately Claire?...

Then I messaged a friend to tell him I'd passed despite my driving instructor being there. But then, maybe not. Maybe it was less "despite" and more "thanks to." I couldn't fail because I couldn't bear having to tell Ryusuke right after the fact while it was still raw.

Thinking about it, I'm the same way with Nanowrimo. When I want to throw in the towel, I bite down and dig in, because I don't want to tell people I suck. Failure is not an option. How many other times am I like this?

Maybe that's it for me. The secret to success is the absolute inacceptability of failure.