The NCT. It’s just a harmless car test yet it has the capacity to bring up a set of emotions that car owners thought they had left behind with the Leaving Cert. Any of these sound familiar?

1. Disbelief

“What? It’s due the NCT…again?”

It seems like only yesterday you were pulling up to the NCT centre clutching your driver’s licence and €55 test fee, and you can’t quite believe it’s that time again.

2. Fear

“I’m sorry, your car is a categorical failure and must be taken off the road immediately.”

Disbelief soon gives way to fear. You begin to expect the worse. Just like one big conspiracy against you and your car, over and over in your mind’s eye you can see the tester shaking his head as he presents you with a big fat FAIL.

3. Paranoia

“Is that a slight metallic grind coming from that wheel? What’s that ticking noise coming from under the bonnet?”

Rationale goes out the window and you keep getting this strange inkling that something is about to go wrong with your car. But it’s so ridiculous because the car has been functioning perfectly well for the last while. But that’s what the NCT does to you. You listen out for strange noises and unusual behaviour. You’re officially paranoid.

4. Panic

“Ahhhh! Where’s my vehicle registration cert?”

You’re in a blind panic looking through all your junk for the vehicle registration cert. Last time you said you would put it in a “safe place”, now you can’t remember where that was.

5. Anxiety

“What if…?”

You’re on the way to the test centre. If you haven’t felt anxious up to this point, you surely will now. Oh the questions, questions that feed your anxiety: are the tyres ok?/are the wipers working?/what if one of the bulbs blows on the way? Like an anxious parent on the first day of the Leaving Cert, it’s time to hand over the keys and shuffle into the waiting room.

Caroline Kidd