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By Mike Brosnon

How to lose your drivers license, and have fun surviving it


Recently was taken off me for six months for speeding. Literally as a policeman actually came to my door and stripped me of it. Well!

 

Now I am not a bad boy on the road though I must say, I used to be. I don't speed as such but what I had been doing, with my impulsive nature, is jump into my nice modern car and off. Within seconds I would look down at the speed and low and behold - I am over the speed limit. I would slow down immediately but twice in a row, once on The West Coast and the fatal time in Palmerston, within those seconds they were there with the radar.

The picture was this. On my way back from Dunedin, I called into McGregor's tearooms to buy my favourite mutton pie, (this has been a ritual of mine oh--- for about fifty years) jumping gleefully into the car with licking of lips, knowing I would wait until Kataki Beach to leisurely walk the sand and savour it with the seagulls. Then the coloured lights flash! I'm a goner. Not one but three cop cars at the bridge, only two hundred metres from the pie shop. Mortification and gnashing of teeth. This I think is the worst space in the saga of losing the license. The story unfolds.

While I do understand the police have their job to do, it was more that I only had ten points of the allowed one hundred left. I had upgraded my radar detector ( I call it 'the cop catcher' ) but the fuse had blown and I had omitted to fix it !!

Initially I was upset but very soon I decided well, this is my life, I can make of it what I want, so let's make this a learning thing and have some fun doing it.
So I got my Metro Card (great system) and started using 'The Bus'. I had to walk a mile to and from, and doing it briskly, I made this my exercise for the day. This was a PLUS.
At my tender years, the buses are actually free between 9am and 3pm. PLUS.

Now on the buses I find I meet a whole different culture. I travel the world to study difference in cultures and find it's here in my own back yard. Another PLUS.
Watching and studying people has always been an interest of mine, whether in India, China, Africa or here in New Zealand so the bus is akin to a travelling bird hide. PLUS.
The drivers are mostly delightful and me being a good chatter, I got to know all about them and bus culture. PLUS.
I would chat to lovely older people for whom the service was a lifeline. PLUS.

All sorts of interesting people travel on the buses. PLUS.

It was so good to see many young Asian Students using the service. So often we only hear negatives of Asians, including driving problems, but this is another side. They help our bus service to run, as at certain times there would be mostly Asians aboard. PLUS.

I am not a born driver. To be driven is a privilege to me so here I was being driven all the time. PLUS.

I take Wwoofers (travellers with an organic bent who stay on organic properties and exchange work for accommodation, food and culture). They ring me and I decided to only take the ones with a car at this time. So what a delight, to be driven, including out at night socially where I could have a few drinks with impunity not having to drive. In turn, they loved being shown around my town (and the free drinks). PLUS.

You find out who your real friends are, the ones who ring to offer a ride and ask if you are ok. PLUS.

I love to read. Without a car a lot more of that was done. PLUS.

A happening like this makes one review life, a big PLUS.

I have always enjoyed these milestones so with this mindset the six months went quickly and I look back with affection. PLUS.

When I showed this to Diana Shand who helped set up the bus service whilst on the Regional Council, she asked me to do an article to the Council. PLUS.

So - if YOU have the misfortune to lose your license, I hope you have as much fun as I did.

PLUS! PLUS!


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