Saturday, September 17, 2011

Eldest, a road test, and a trip down memory lane.

Eldest recently took her road test. I was amazed when I was teaching her to parallel park how quickly she learned that skill. She easily seemed to master it. It seemed to take me forever to learn that skill and when I actually took my first road test, I backed up onto the grass next to the road. There was no curb for me to hit, so I just kept blissfully backing until I was entirely off the road and parked on a grassy knoll. Thankfully, it was not the infamous ‘grassy knoll’ in Dallas,Texas, since I was taking my road test in Warsaw New York.

Things were different then. When you finished your test, the stone-faced examiner would simply get out of the vehicle and leave. Leave you to wait and wonder if you passed or not. I was sure I had not, but there was a little bit of hope. Blind hope, which is hope that the examiner was half-blind and did not notice that the van was leaning hard to the left and that the guy mowing the grassy knoll had to mow around the van parked on his lawn.

Being a young person, full of eternal optimism and idealism, I checked the mailbox dutifully for the results of my road test. Opening the box and peering in, I kept hoping that my results had come and that I had passed. Day after day I had that hope smashed when all I found was mail from Ed Mc Mahon announcing that I may have won lots of money. Taking that envelope, I fell to my knees. Looking heavenward, I yelled, “Curse you Ed Mc Mahon. There is a better chance of winning a million dollars with you, than having passed my road test.”

The much-dreaded letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles eventually did come, and I passed. My mother, who witnessed the entire backing onto the grassy knoll incident, was incredulous. “How could they pass you? How could they?”, she kept muttering.

Eventually I had to take my road test again, this time in a bus, and I had to parallel park again. The examiner instructed me to imagine there was a car parked along the curb. “Pull up next to it and parallel park,” she said.

I did, flawlessly this time. Except, I think I may have scraped the imaginary car. If you came out to your imaginary car about 17 years ago and found yellow scrapes along the side, I am sorry, deeply sorry. Now close your eyes and imagine a nice big insurance check in your hand. There? Isn’t that better?

I passed that test too. Now I could drive a bus. I remember talking to my father on the phone and sharing the news with him. In the background, I could hear my mother. “What? He passed? He can drive a bus? How could they?”

Imagine my delight when  Eldest told me that her examiner said her parallel parking was the best he had seen in a long time. Now I just have to get her to drive a bus.

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