Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My eyes....

So, I have a new car now. In the process of having to get rid of my old heap (a 1995 Chevy Cavalier, with myriad problems) I had to give over my title to the dealership. I had no luck in finding it though...

So, off to the DMV I went.

Personally, I think DMV employees get a bad rep for their attitude. I've yet to have a problem with the actual people that work there. The people that you see at the DMV are another matter altogether.

The moment I walked into the building I was overwhelmed with the combination of the following smells. Big Red chewing gum. Ben Gay. And fear. I thought that there was poem that said, "Teenagers are teenagers, Old people are old people, and never the twain shall meet." At least that's how I thought the poem went.

It was the Big Red gum and fear smells that really took me back. Back to the day that I went for my drivers test.

Like most kids in America, when I turned 15, I got my learners permit and then went on to start taking my driving lessons at my local High School. Our drivers education instructor also happened to be the High School football coach. I think that this is set in stone in every school in the United States. If you want to torment young athletes on the football field, you have to also do it to young people learning how to drive. I think that they figure that this is the educational version of the Army drill instructor. Break you down to nothing and then build you back up again.

The main deterant that was put forth by the instructor was the ice scraper. Sure, it was April, but the ice scraper was in the back seat and you were told that if you made a mistake that he would wrap it across the back of your hands.

I've never been one that believed that the fear of making a mistake would prevent you from making one. Completely the opposite is what I believe to be true. If you tell a kid to do something, and if they make a mistake that they'll be punished severely for it, my thought is that they'll probably crack under the sheer pressure of trying not to mess up.

Thankfully, I never made the major mistakes when I went through all of my driving practice, so as my birthday approached I actually felt as thought I was prepared for the test. So, I went into the local DMV on my 16th birthday and sat and waited for my test.

To say that I was nervous would be an understatement, but there was also that great sense of excitement to know that you were going to be able to go anywhere you wanted as soon as you got home. You'd have your car and you'd be able to drive and drive... until you had to beg your parents for enough cash to fill up the tank again.

I got into my mother's car with the instructor and managed to be a semi-competent driver for about 5 minutes. I completed all of my turns correctly. I executed all of the essential hand signals that I knew that I would never use again. Everything was going fine.

Then I was told to parallel park behind of one of the cars that was parked on the street. There were no other cars behind this car, so it should have been a piece of cake. It all went wrong from there. I backed up onto the curb and just couldn't manage to straighten anything out. Clearly the pressure got to me and I got a bit flustered.

The next thing that I heard from the person conducting the test was....

"What in the hell are you doing!?!"

I really didn't have an answer for him at that point, so I tried to maintain my composure and just pulled the car back off of the curb and started back towards the DMV.

When we got back, I basically lost it. I had had so many people tell me how important it was to pass the test on the first try that I just broke into tears. I wish you all could have seen the look on the guys face. All of a sudden he felt really bad about yelling at me during the test. He still didn't give me a passing grade, but it really seemed to make him think about how he had snapped at me.

A few weeks later I went back and took my test again and as luck would have it... I got the same guy to give me the test.

He didn't make me parallel park and I passed.

I guess that just goes to show you that women aren't the only one that can get their way by turning on the waterworks.


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