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Thursday, June 23, 2011


In sharing life stories on this blog, I've often delved into the darkest moments of my life. I've posted about almost being attacked by a creep, the biggest upset in history, some car trouble, and even the passing of my beloved pet. This following story is one of the darkest moments of all, capturing a day of my life that I will never forget. I have rarely known such terror as I did on this day... The day of...

My driving test.

I should have anticipated the horror that awaited me. As some of my older friends began getting their licenses, they would warn me, "When you go to take the road test, make sure you don't get the mean lady!" Everyone who took the test told me this, even people who didn't actually have to perform for "the mean lady." Whether they had a personal experience with her or not, everyone knew her and knew she was awful, kind of like "Born This Way."

So I go in for my test, pull up to the little station, and out comes the mean lady. I knew it was her immediately by the way she scowled as she climbed into the passenger seat. At first, she didn't seem that mean, so I was temporarily optimistic.

The start of the test wasn't bad. I just drove around in circles while she barked questions at me: "How long have you been driving?!" "When's the last time you practiced?!" "Do you know where the center of the road is?!?!" She wasn't super pleasant, but she didn't make me cry yet, so I was sure everything would be fine.

Then I got to parallel parking.

Now, living in Lambertville for a year has made me a pretty great parallel parker. But back in the day, I wasn't so great at is (who is at 16 years old?). I didn't hit the cone, but I did brush the curb. I heard that that's not a huge deal, so I asked the mean lady if I could go again. Finally, some of her nastiness came out.

I successfully completed my second attempt at parallel parking and then did my k-turn. (Seriously, why is a k-turn on the test? Who can't do a k-turn?!) I started going toward the exit, hoping that I would pass despite my brief contact with the curb. But this is where things got really bad.

To leave the little driving test track, you have to turn left at the end of the track. You can also go right, but that just leads to more random test track, and I was done with my test! So I put on my blinker to go left, began to make the turn, and then...

The mean lady started screaming at me to turn so loud, that I assumed I was going the wrong way and made a very sharp right turn, back onto the test track. Only I was now going against traffic.

Luckily, there was no one else on the track. Still, the mean lady was not happy with this latest development. Unfortunately, I decided this would be a good moment to talk back to her.

I remember her words exactly. Jerky? How was I the jerk?! She was the one yelling at me and made me go the wrong way! She was not pleased at all that I talked back to her, and I didn't want to make her even angrier, so I just shut my mouth and sped around the track to get back to the exit. I approached the practice STOP sign and decided to stop a little too late, after I had already passed the white line. This made her pretty livid.

Again, I spoke back to her, but this time, I think it helped me. I said, "I didn't stop because I thought the test was over! Now I'm just gonna drive back to the station!!" She didn't say anything at all, so I drove back to the station and she got out.

I looked back at Mike, who brought me to the test and let me use his car, and made a grim face. I had friends who failed their first road test and I went into the test determined to not follow in their footsteps. Now I had blown it.

The mean lady came over to my window and glowered at me until I rolled the window down. She didn't even bend down when she spoke, but she said, "I don't know... It must be your lucky day. Take this and show it to the people inside to get your license." Somehow, I'd passed! I got away from her as fast as possible and got my license, on my first try!

So what's the moral of this story? I guess to never give up, even when you're sure you've already lost. Or maybe it has an even simpler moral: when you go to take the road test, make sure you don't get the mean lady!


Tam said...

I'm going to make the kid read this. She just got her learner's permit last week and got behind the wheel of the car for the first time Sunday. In an empty parking lot at the hockey arena thank god. She can't take a road test for a year here, but I'm sure she'll keep an eye out for the mean lady.

Justin said...

I *LOVE* the way the driving test took **SOO**LOONNNGG that Shia -- I mean you -- AGED SEVERAL YEARS in the time it took for him -- I mean you -- to finish the test!

Great story! Obviously she was overcome by your natural charm, Enriquito :)

And Tam -- why does "the kid" need any ol' mean lady. I have every confidence that you can fulfill that roll if you choose to. Not to mention, if she fails to use the turn signal, you can force her to eat vegemite! Oh wait. I love vegemite. You can force her NOT to eat vegemite!

Chris D. said...

Yikes, that does sound a bit scary.

I can't remember much about my drivers test (perhaps that means I'm old). However, I don't recall any big challenges. I probably was a little nervous about parallel parking. However, I don't think they required perfection on that part.

The K turn is very basic, but parts of the concept probably help in navigating some narrow parking lots. Some new drivers are probably very weak at backing up. So it may help to require some minimum skill in that area.

I grew up in a house with a long driveway, so I became decent at backing up. One of my sister's friends visited, and had to park in our driveway for some reason. She had the hardest time backing up! She couldn't seem to manage steering her car in reverse. She just kept driving further on to our neighbors lawn. Apparently some people just do not know how to drive in reverse.

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Why'd your examiner keep changing clothes? That's distracting!

Anonymous said...

I had the mean lady and she would not let me take my driver's test because I had a rental car. So I had to go back the following week, and I passed with out her!! Yes!!


Ryan said...

Note to self: If I ever get a time machine, I may have to go back in time and pull some strings for Enrico.

I failed my first test because our school's backing right training was inadequate (backing into a street is nothing like backing into a parking space with flags) and because I didn't expect it and started too close to the curb (I gave myself plenty of room the second time). I hit the flag and auto-failed. Parallel parking was no problem (yet I still hate doing it even now). I completely failed the final park (30 degree angle with respect to the curb), but it wasn't enough to make me fail.

Delisa said...

I was so nervous when I took my test. First of all my instructor made me drive to the testing place in Wayne which required going on the parkway and I'd only driven on the parkway once before then. By the time we got to the DMV I was so frazzled. Then my instructor looked mean but he turned out to be pretty nice. I messed up my k-turn only because it was a trick. After parallel parking he told me to make a u-turn out of the area we were in but there wasn't enough room so I didn't know what to do and he was like, "Well make a k-turn instead." I panicked and forgot to straighten the wheel and he had to tell me what to do. I did everything else properly and I passed so it's all good!

Mel said...

K-turn? You mean a three-point turn?

That's what I failed on the first time I took my test. I only ever lived places where they made you test on actual roads, and my examiner the first time made me do the three-point at a spot where the road sloped badly and there was a deep rut at the bottom edge so that you couldn't do it without hitting the gas and going off the roadway. I was 19 before I tried again, and the examiner that time was very impressed with my skills.

hoteltuesday said...

Tam: I hear she travels around and terrorizes Canadians too, so make sure you warn her! (P.S. TJ and I are coming to Canada in a few weeks!)

Chris: Wow, I had no idea people had trouble backing up. Put the car in reverse and hit the pedal. haha.

Garret: I originally had a few lines in the entry talking about outfit changes, but peepz know that I have to use what pics I can so I took them out. I knew someone would comment! Haha.

TJ: Why did you have a rental car?! You dodged a bullet anyway!

Ryan: Wow, your test sounds intense. We just have to drive, parallel park, and k turn.

Delisa: THE PARKWAY?! Instant fail for me! You know I still don't drive there. Hahaha.

Mel: Way to make me feel bad about saying no one could fail that. Haha. At least you passed the next time!

Michelle M. said...

I passed the first time, but only because the mean lady (who was a man) forgot to have me parallel park. Otherwise I'd still be bumming rides.

Love the use of Sue. And you are sooo much cuter that Shia.

Anonymous said...

I messed up a little with my parallel parking too,and I just stopped the car and started to cry. My guy was very nice and told me to calm down and start again. I was fine after that and passed, but as i was parking in the front to go and get my license I hit a parked car. The owner didn't mind though his car wouldn't start and he asked me if I could give him a jump. I did and then he offered me money but i didn't take it.