Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I learned to do it in a minivan

As I'm sure you can tell from the title, we're talking about driving. I had some problems when I first started driving: the road test. It was the day of my 16th birthday - I couldn't wait to get my license so I could go home that night to my birthday party and drive all my friends around (I was one of the oldest in my class, so not many others could drive at that point). So, I'm driving around with Stan from the DMV. Stan normally wouldn't be someone I would pick as a friend. He's a bit anal and seems to enjoy the control and power he has as a proud staff member of DMV. He had the personality of a chemist mixed with dedication to the DMV of a drill sergeant. Anyway, I think I'm doing really well - going the speed limit, checking my mirrors, hands at 10 & 2 - you know the drill. As we pulled into the parking lot at the end of my test, I start getting out of the car and he says, "Hold on, Toby. Let's talk about today." At first, I thought he was going to comment on the plush interior and smooth handling of my parents minivan that I used for this joyous occasion. But instead, he said, "You're not safe to have on the roads." That's not what you long to hear from your driving instructor, Sergeant Stan. Apparently, I hadn't actually stopped for any of the stop signs - or at least a "complete stop". In fact, at the only one I came to a full stop I stopped on the crosswalk and forced a pedestrian to walk into the intersection to cross. That's frowned upon. Anyway, after our brief conversation and valuable life lessons from Sgt. Stan, I went home without a license. I handled it like any mature 16-year-old - cried myself a river and prayed that my friends would still think I was cool. I tried to laugh about it with my friends that night, but it pretty much sucked. Happy freakin birthday. The sad thing is, years later, I went back and failed the written part of my motorcycle test 3 times before getting my license. Ironically, after all that, I have a clean driving record.


CJ said...

Hey Toby, don't feel too bad, man. I failed my road test twice before finally getting a 70% to pass on the third try. And I've never had an accident. A few speeding tickets but that's it.

Who knew at 16 that hitting an old lady in a crosswalk was an automatic fail?!!? She only bruised her hip, wasn't even broken, but MY 'Stan' seemed to think that was a big problem, so WHATever!

Suzanne said...

The same thing happened to my high school crush, and when I comforted him and reassured him that he was still cool, he held my hand. In a 12-passenger van. On the way back from a Michael W. Smith concert. Score.