Last Monday, I scooted on out to my local DMV to acquire an updated license.
The DMV is never a pleasant experience. I don't care what you're going there for. It is inhabited by the dregs of society and smells like a foot. Actually it smells much worse than a foot. And the chairs are grimy. Did I say it smells bad?
I took my number and waited my turn. When I got to the counter, I re-took my vision test.
Typical. Expected. Passed with flying colors. My eyes are perfect.
Then Yolanda looks at me and says, "You know you have to re-take the other 2 tests also, right?"
UMM. NO, Yolanda. I did not know that. What are you even talking about YOLANDA?!
The tests she spoke of were the written test and the ROAD TEST I had taken the day I turned 16. Approximately 8-ish years ago. So I had one of my usual little panic attacks and called Suz.
Suz had absolutely zero confidence in me or my driving skillz, and suggested that I go back in a couple days after I had studied the SC driving laws book. I contemplated her suggestion, and then decided not to listen to her.
I told Yolanda I was good to go and she sent me to the computer that had been set up for my written test.
There were 30 questions. I had no idea how many I was allowed to get wrong. I tapped the 15-year-old who was taking the test next to me to get his learner's permit and asked him. He looked like he knew what was up. And also kinda like Justin Bieber. Fake Bieber told me I could miss 6 questions and still pass.
That.shit.was. HARD. When I took my original written test at age 16, I took it in Pennsylvania. So, NO, question 14, I have no effing clue what SC state law 102 mandates about appropriate highway merging procedure.
I wanted to cheat off of Fake Bieber so badly, but I was really scared of Yolanda at that point, and figured she might be watching me.
Somehow or another, I got 25 out of the 30 questions right. If you want to be on the road with someone who knows all the right steps for parking on a hill or what to do with your foot pedals when your brakes fail.....don't drive near me. Cause apparently I don't.
Okay. Then I had to move on to the road test.....
I am a self-proclaimed bad driver. It was raining. The DMV was getting ready to close in about 20 minutes. I was wearing flip flops. EVERYTHING was conspiring against me for this stupid road test.
Roland (my tester) came over, introduced himself, and told me where to bring my car around.
I frantically threw a solid month's worth of gum wrappers, receipts, Diet Coke cans, and empty 5-hour energies into the backseat to make room for Roland.
He got in the car, and explained that once we started moving, he would only be able to communicate with me by asking his sanctioned questions/instructions, or repeating said questions/instructions.
Based on the violations to protocol I apparently engaged in, here are my tips for passing a road driving test:
1. Do not make small talk with your cheerful test distributor. Do not continue in said small talk even after they have reminded you that they cannot participate in small talk.
2. Know your left from your right. Before we started driving, Roland asked me to turn on my left blinker, and then my right one. I did right then left. Fail # 1.
3. Turn your windshield wipers on BEFORE you start driving away if it is raining. Fail # 2.
4. Do not make a 3-point turn into a 4-point turn, and then blame it on your truck's lack of turning radius. Fail # 3.
5. Know where your emergency parking brake is located, and possibly invest in using that emergency brake once every 5 years or so. I hadn't touched mine since I once drove around with it on for 3 days straight because I couldn't figure out how to turn it off my senior year of high school. It showed.
6. Number 6 gets its own special paragraph down below.
Do not. And I repeat. Do. not. run over the curb in your sorry-ass excuse for parallel parking. Then, do not actually finish your parallel park job with your car parked ON the curb, tell your instructor you're done parking, and act like it's totally normal to be parked on the curb. And finally, when you are attempting to pull your car back out of the parallel spot, do not HIT ONE OF THE WOODEN BARRIERS YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE PARKING BETWEEN WITH YOUR FRONT BUMPER.
My performance in this road DMV test was absolutely dripping in failsauce. Imagine my surprise, then, when Roland tears off the sheet he's been jotting things down on, hands it to me, and says....
"Congratulations Miss Townes. You're a fine driver."
Excuse me, Roland, WTF mate? Have you been in the same car as me for the past 15 minutes?
Whatevs. I snatched the paper and thanked my new bud before he could change his mind. Or before he could go check out the damage I probably inflicted on that wooden barrier.
No wonder there are so many shitty drivers on the road, when people like me and driving performances like that get applauded and rewarded with shiny new licenses.
However, in the category of "small victories," I no longer look like a 10-year-old boy in my license picture.
Super blurry, but you get the gist.
Last thing. Quick shout out to Fake Bieber. I really hope he got his learner's permit. Poor thing was probably 75 pounds soaking wet and looked like he was 15 going on 8. Here's hoping he gets hit with a nice healthy dose of puberty sometime soon.