Tuesday, August 30, 2005

will this be on the test?

I got my driver's license right after I turned 17, and I had a perfect driving record for the next eight years. I got hit a couple times but neither one was my fault, and both times the insurance company paid for the rental that I had to drive while my car was being fixed. Then in grad school I did the white-knuckled drive during a snowstorm to class one night. I made it to the parking lot and as I pulled into a space, I scraped against the car next to me (yes, ironic that I made it through the snow and then hit a car in the indoor parking lot). I got out and looked to see if there was damage. I didn't really see any but I left a note anyway, because it seemed like the right thing to do. The owner of the car called me; she turned out to be a professor, and she praised me up and down for leaving a note and told me that I restored her faith in humanity. Then she put in some ridiculous claim and my insurance went up. A lot. So much for being a nice person.

Okay, so there was that...technically an accident, but not REALLY. Then a few months after that, I got pulled over for the first time...no ticket. About a year later, I got pulled over again...my first ticket. Then came the day not long ago when I picked up sheet music for Mark and got pulled over for making an illegal U-turn AND got a fine for not having renewed my registration.

When it's all in one paragraph, maybe it starts to sound like a lot. But it's really not...it all took place over three years, following my aforementioned eight years of driving sainthood.

But guess what? Five offenses in three years apparently mean that you have to go to DRIVER RETRAINING SCHOOL. I kid you not. I got the notice when I got home from the Cape last week. And if I don't do it, they'll suspend my license. I'm sorry, WHAT? Isn't that more appropriate for...I don't know, NOT ME?

So today I called to sign up and pay my $100 for the honor and glory of spending eight hours on a Saturday learning how to signal and stop for pedestrians. I'm already picturing walking into the Welcome Back Kotter classroom and crying silently in the corner while the mean kids in the back throw stuff at me.

When the woman was done signing me up, she asked me if I had any questions, and just to further perpetuate my new role as a deadbeat, I asked if there was a test at the end. I'm imagining my learning permit test all over again. And my actual license test was really easy...the guy made me do a three-point turn and then asked where my dad and I were going for lunch. How many feet do you stay back from a school bus? And I still can't parallel park!

"There's a 10-question true or false test at the end," she told me.

True or false? How about, if I don't pass this test, I won't be able to drive to work and I'll lose my job: TRUE.

Dave reminded me today that I backed into his car once, after fully acknowleding that it was there and then promptly forgetting. (So much for driving sainthood, come to think of it.) He had a big dent the exact size and shape of my spare tire on his passenger door. Luckily he didn't sue me or anything, or else I would've had to go to driver retraining sleepaway camp or something.


M.Thom said...

I had several years of unfortunate driving incidents stretching from when I was about 22 to when I was about 25. When Allstate "non-renewed" my policy and I started paying $2000 each year for my car insurance (under the high risk pool plan), I decided it was time to get my head out of my ass. Since then (knocking every piece of wood I can find), I have only been hit...not hit anything (except for a deer...which actually hit me, technically). And my insurance rates have been cut in half and then some. So, so nice.

Anyway, my point there is that I feel for you. It sucks when you think you are a decent driver and the world is trying to tell you that you are not!

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