PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Getting My Driver's License (The End....or The Beginning?)

This is the last in the "Denied Driver's License/Learning to Drive" series. I hope you've been more entertained by it than I was at the time (grumble, grumble - do you ever lose that feeling of being 16 and totally hosebagged by your parents?)

I had to wait until I turned 18 to get my license. And then? There was no Judy (mom) or Rick (dad) to dare say stop. They couldn't. It was my Iowa-God-Given Right at that point. For some crazy reason, though, I didn't get my license until the middle of winter. (My birthday's in July. Shop early, shop often!) Probably because I didn't have a car, or access to one. But then I found out I could be a student driver, and I would HAVE to have a license to do my independent internship in Des Moines the following semester. Being a student driver meant going to pick up visitors at the airport for my college. It paid pretty well, and it meant you could DRIVE to stores along the way instead of, say, riding your bike. So, I ended up borrowing my friend Jon's car, and my friend Ellen accompanied me to the testing station (because you had to have a licensed driver with you, in case you FAILED.)
We'd had a small-ish ice storm the night before. Fab-u. We get inside, and there's a handful of people waiting for the driving test. Some dickwad stands up in front of us all like a drill sergeant and proceeds to shout out the rules and pitfalls of the driving test. "YOU WILL FAIL IF AT ANY TIME - BLAH BLAH BLAH -" but what broke through my fogbank of nervousness was "WE HAVE ICE ON THE ROADS BUT YOU WILL BE TESTED AS THOUGH THE STREETS ARE CLEAR AND IF YOU SLIDE THROUGH AN INTERSECTION THAT WILL CONSTITUTE FAILURE TO HAVE CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE AND YOU WILL IMMEDIATELY FAIL."
eep! wild eep!
So I get paired up with a pink-cheeked corn-fed tester named Penny. Penny's wearing a full body snowsuit. We go out to my borrowed car, and I am petrified of everything, it's not my car, there's ice everywhere, holy crapcakes batman, this is what I've spent years in battle with my parents over, and it could all swirl the drain over a little ice storm.
We commence with the driving test. I kept my hands on the wheel in such a way that my left thumb and index finger constantly formed the letter "L", so I wouldn't have a complete break with reality if she told me "turn left" and I errantly turned right. I did slide a little on one hill, and lost some points, but it wasn't enough for immediate failure, I thought, as we continued driving around town, signalling, turning, doo-de-doo. I was dreading the three-point turn test, or parallel parking, having heard some horror stories from classmates about their experiences. Ten minutes into my driving test, I notice that Penny is shifting about in her seat. Two minutes after that, she says, "That's enough. Let's go back to the testing station." I'm all "holy fuck, I've totally failed, that slip through the four-way stop doomed me." We get back. Get out. She says, "You scored a 97. I took 3 points off for sliding a little at the stop sign. You passed. Take this in and get your picture taken."
I'm ecstatic! YIPPEE! No parallel parking! And I passed! Awesome! I collect my license and go back to the car, with my friend. I'm chirping and chattering, so very excited. We start to drive back to campus.
Ellen says, "Can you turn the heat down? I'm boilin' up in here."

It was like a crack of lightening on my forehead. Move over, Harry Potter. I'd had the heat blasting the entire way over, because it was cold and we'd scraped & it was quite chilly. I was so nervous and worried, I didn't touch a single thing when we got back in for the test. I thought my own warmth was nerves. Everything fell into logical place. Corn-fed Penny. In her snowsuit. Bright red cheeks. Trickle of sweat when we got out of the car. Cutting the test short. Passing me with flying colors.


I'd baked her into submission.

However, lest you think I am lacking in parallel-parking skills? I can parallel park like a mo-fo. Spots that look like you'd have to pick the car UP and lower it in with a crane? No problem. Might take me a second attempt, but I can get it in. It's really almost dazzling, if I may be so egotistical. Many a co-worker has emerged from my car, stunned and amazed I fit the car where I did. So. I'm jus' sayin'. I may hit a lot of potholes (I do live in Missouri) because I'm short and can't see 'em comin', but I would relish a parallel parking Olympics. Winter or Summer, baby, I'd bring home the gold.
posted by PlazaJen, 12:43 PM