HYPOTHESIS

The driving test
B = Bob
J = Jill

B Well? Did you?
J No.
B Oh no! That`s the fourth time! What went wrong?
J Everything. I didn`t do a thing right. Not in the test, anyway. In the lesson before, I did it all perfectly � three-point turn, emergency stop, moving off on a hill, great. The instructor said if I drove like that in the test, I`d pass.
B So what happened?
J Oh it`s the usual thing. I just get so nervous. And the examiner was horrible. He really put me off, right from the start.
B How? What did he do?
J Well, he was so rude and sarcastic, so I was shaking like a leaf before we even started. If he`d been nicer and had tried to put me at ease a bit, I`m sure I`d have felt better.
B How was he sarcastic?
J Just to show you how nervous I was, right, I forgot to take the handbrake off when we started …
B … oh, no …
J Alright, I know. And we were going down the road, and he says �Don`t you think it`s about time you took the handbrake off? We seem to be moving now, and I can smell it burning.�
B (laughs)
J Well I didn`t think it was very funny.
B Sorry.
J I felt terrible after that. I`d made a mess of things even before we got into the car. He asked me … you know, you have to read a number plate about thirty yards away, and I don`t know the names of any cars. He said �What`s the number of the Mercedes Two Thousand?�, or something, and I got the wrong car, and he was really impatient, �No, no, no!�
B That`s not very fair, is it?
J Then we were going along, coming to a junction, and I slowed down too soon, so the people behind got held up. They started hooting, I stalled the car …
B … Oh Jill …
J and then when I got it going again, I didn`t look right before pulling out into the main road …
B But there was nothing coming, was there?
J No, no. But I still should have looked, shouldn`t I?
B Oh… did he say anything?
J He didn`t have too. He just slammed the brakes on, you know, his dual controls, and put his hand to his forehead, like this, you know, as though he`s thinking �I wonder how long I`ll stay in this job`, and then signaled me to go on. Well, after that there was no point in going on, and I said so, but he just said `Drive us back to the centre, please, Mrs Gibson�. Oh my knees were knocking, honestly.
B I bet. Poor old you. Never mind. You`ll get it, of course you will.
J I know, but what annoys me is that I know I can do all these things, really well, but not in the actual test. That`s when I mess them up. When I was reversing round a corner, and doing really well, a cyclist arrived wanting to turn into the same road. I didn`t know who should wait for who, so I waited, but the cyclist waved me on, or at least, I thought he had, but when I started to move he was right in front of me, and I made him swerve. If that cyclist hadn`t been there, it would have been fine. When I did the emergency stop, I skidded, and I never usually do that, I just lost control for a split second, and finally when we got back to the centre and I had to park, I got too close to another parked car � just ever so slightly touched it, you know, scraped it…
B Oh, boy. I bet you were glad when it was over, weren`t you?
J The examiner certainly was, but he didn`t show it, oh no, he just calmly filled in his form, and without looking at me at all, he was looking at the sky, he said �I`m sorry to have to inform you, Mrs Gibson, that you have failed to reach the required standard�. And he got out and walked away.
B Oh, my love. Never mind. Next time.
J It makes me so mad. Why do people have to be so horrible?

Panic in a restaurant
A = Wife
B = Husband
C = Waiter

A Did you enjoy that, darling?
B Yes, not bad. The sauce tasted a bit strange, and I don`t think the pastry was quite cooked enough.
A Well, you should have had what I had. The chicken was lovely. And that dessert, the Chef`s surprise, was delicious. You really should be more adventurous, Gerald.
B Don`t nag, please. My stomach hurts, it`s so full. I wish I hadn`t eaten that pudding. Talking of surprises, I`m dreading what the bill`s going to come to. Did you look at the prices?
A Gerald, this is our wedding anniversary! Of course I didn`t. You should have looked before we came in.
B Could we have the bill, please?
C Certainly, sir.
A There`s no point in worrying about the bill now. It wouldn`t have been so much if we`d ordered a house wine, but no, you had to have champagne.
C Your bill, sir.
B Thank you. Oh, no! I wish we hadn`t come here.

Facts about Jack Higgins: right or wrong?
Jack Higgins is a best-selling author. He lives in New York with his wife and six children. He was born in London, and is now forty-three years old.
A lot of his friends left school at fifteen, but he didn`t. When he was eighteen he did his National Service and went to Australia. He is now rich and famous, and doesn`t write any more. He has a very happy life. He enjoys meeting the Royal Family.

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