Saturday, I trekked down to the DMV to do something for the fourth and I hope to god the final time: take my driver learner's permit test. Now, you might read that and think jesus christ, it's not that hard of a test, what's wrong with you?
I'll have you know that I have passed it each time I've taken it. It's just that things kinda get in the way when it comes to doing the behind-the-wheel test.
Growing up in southern California, you absolutely, positively had to have a driver's license. LA ostensibly has public transportation but it's there more in name than actuality. If you don't drive, you really can't get around. So I took driver's ed in summer school when I was 15 and triumphantly passed my learner's permit test. As soon as I turned 16, I signed up to take the behind-the-wheel test...and failed. Spectacularly. I'd like to blame it on the fact that the only thing I'd eaten that day was a bag of chips, but let's be honest: I probably wasn't a very good driver. You'd have to be awful to get a 37.
Battered and bruised, I practiced for a few more months and then tried again. This time I got a 97. Boo-ya! Many happy years of driving commence.
Then I move away to Italy and then DC, two places where I didn't need a driver's license. I grow lazy and complacent - so much so that I allow my driver's license to expire. Now, if you do that, you have a three-month window in which you can pay some sort of fee and get it re-upped, even if it's from another state. But after that window has closed, it's so sad, too bad my friends. You have to start over.
I believe I've mentioned my peccadilloes with my learner's permit here before (don't feel like linking to the specific entry). Suffice it to say, I keep getting my learner's permit and then letting it expire before going behind the wheel.
Not any more. This I vow: I will have my driver's license before the year is over.
And just to wipe that smirk off of your face, here are a few sample questions from the study test:
How close to the intersection may you park on the non-approach side of a one-way street?
a) 10 feet
b) 25 feet
c) 40 feet
How much notice is your insurance company required to give you before canceling your liability insurance?
a) 10 days
c) 30 days
When approaching a stopped school bus with alternately flashing red lights from the opposite direction on a street with a median strip divider, the driver of a vehicle should:
a) Stop not less than 15 feet from the bus
b) Proceed with caution
c) Stop not less than 7 feet from the bus
These all were admittedly confusingly written. My personal favorite is the one that does a completely unsubtle plug for the DMV:
Why are drivers licensed?
a) To make more money for the city
b) To identify them for the police
c) To keep unsafe drivers from driving.
It's only because the city loves you so much that it wants to make sure all of its precious angel inhabitants are completely secure.
At any rate, I'm signed up to take the behind-the-wheel test on Monday, Sept. 12. Soon I will have the capability that most teenagers take for granted: I will legally be allowed to operate a motor vehicle.