Thursday, March 4, 2010

Surviving the DMV driver's test

On a bright Friday morning, I stepped out of my car, went to the driver’s seat, adjusted it, then the mirrors and buckled up. I grabbed the wheel and took off for what I was sure was just a routine driver’s test.
Patiently, I waited at the first STOP sign, then the second, then a third and by the fourth I thought to myself: How many more before my blank-faced tester can actually realize that I DO READ ENGLISH, I KNOW HOW TO BREAK AT A STOP SIGN and I CAN ACTUALLY DRIVE, especially since I’ve been doing it for almost two decades and at least six months (without a single penalty) in this state?
That’s when I made a small jump. It was a big mistake!
That Friday, I went back home in utter disbelief. On the one hand, I didn’t yield (after patiently stopping at that fourth sign for over a minute). But on the other, I drove really well.
That was Friday the 11th. On Thursday the 12th, a snow storm hit the city and everyone vowed to stay home. I took off and headed to the site of my second road test.
Same waiting line, same sober faced with an I_HATE_MY_JOB look testers; but the streets were all covered in snow. Two stop signs later and practically no danger to yield to (everyone else really stuck to their homes), I passed!
Now I am officially approved by the NY DMV as a safe driver. How much exactly did that cost me?
- Study time, though that was the only part I found important
- A trip down to Manhattan to do the practical test and wait for hours for my papers to be processed. Finished a boring novel and missed a nice lunch with my friends in the process, which was an utter waste of time
- A painful four-hour session of decent and responsible driving that is TOTALLY designed for teen drivers. I don’t really drink, let alone drink and drive. I’m worried about children crossing the street, but I’m concerned about the safety of my own three little ones strapped in the backseat of my minivan. For God’s sake, I drive a minivan!!! Ring Ring Ring!
- Two mornings trying to pass a practical driving test
- A nerve-wrecking and quite humiliating experience sitting next to a woman I don’t know, whose sole job is to judge my every move: a turn of the head, a jerk of the knee, and God forbid, an untimely sneeze. Then she sits and starts scoring my abilities right there and then. So instead of focusing on the road, I try to steal a few sideway glances to see if I’ve already failed or not.
I passed.
But it’s far from over…
Still have to do the trip to Manhattan to renew the license I have yet to receive.
Yes, they gave me a learner’s permit which expires two days after my test was scheduled, how clever was that?
So now, I’m bracing myself for yet another boring novel, a lunch missed at one of my favorite hang outs and a morning totally lost to bureaucratic chaos..and NO..this isn’t happening in Cairo. It’s right here in one of the world’s supposedly most humane countries!!

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