When Ming finished school just over a year ago, his cohort was issued with school windcheaters which each kid was allowed to have labelled with their name or a nickname. Ming chose “Ming the Merciless.”
I was reminded of this when we drove into town yesterday morning for him to have his driving test. All the way in (20 minutes), he yelled different versions of a victory cry at the top of his lungs – for example:
ROOOAAARRRRGH – I AM GOING TO WIN THIS TIME!
ROOOAAARRRRGH – I AM MING THE MERCILESS!
ROOOAAARRRRGH – THIS IS MY DAY!
ROOOAAARRRRGH – DEATH TO THIS TEST!
Eventually, I managed to quieten him a little by saying, “Now I want you to keep roaring, and I am sure you will pass this time, but just in case you don’t, it’s okay.”
He resumed his roar of absolute confidence even more loudly!
When we arrived, we waited outside, with another kid and his driving instructor, for the driving assessors to come out of the licencing centre. Ming had ceased roaring, but even his ordinary voice is LOUD, so he rather overwhelmed the other kid (who was very shy) with:
IS THIS YOUR FIRST TEST? DON’T WORRY, MATE, YOU’LL BE RIGHT! THIS IS MY FOURTH! WE ARE GOING TO NAIL IT! YES, YES, YES!
In the meantime I had a much quieter conversation with shy kid’s driving instructor.
“He’s just excited,” I said.
Then (at exactly 7.50am) the driving assessors whooshed out of the building and called out the names of the victims ha! The shy kid simply nodded when his name was called but Ming yelled, “MING YES, THAT’S ME!”
A few minutes later, it was just the shy kid’s driving instructor and me sitting on a bench outside the centre, making pleasant smalltalk. I was trying very hard not to bite my fingernails!
About 25 minutes later, both assessors and boys arrived back. Unfortunately, the shy kid had failed outright so, as I watched his driving instructor and his mother commiserate with him, I also watched Ming’s body language as he sat inside the car listening to his assessor. I was still sitting on the bench at a distance from the car so I couldn’t hear what was being said but, at one point Ming put his head in his hands, then he threw his arms up in the air, then repeated both gestures before getting out of the car. I didn’t know if this meant he’d passed or failed.
As his assessor slipped back into the licencing centre, Ming approached the shy kid, and the shy kid’s mother and driving instructor with a loud ROAR, punching the air. They were standing just outside the centre whereas I was at a slight distance still glued to my bench. I yelled out, “Ming, yes or no?” as I ran towards him, but he didn’t hear me above his huge voice.
But, just as I reached him, he threw his arms around the shy kid’s driving instructor (someone we have never met before, by the way), and I knew he’d passed the test! He then shook the shy kid’s hand nearly off, saw me (finally!) and kissed me soundly on both cheeks and we entered the licencing centre, with Ming yelling:
WHO CAN I KISS OR HUG?
CHAMPAGNE AND CAVIAR!
JOY, BLISS, FREEDOM, I LOVE THE WORLD!
Ming, the Merciless!