THROWBACK THURSDAY LEARNING TO DRIVE IN AMERICA #2
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Driving Lessons – The Test!
I really hope that you’ve been reading and riding along on my blog as I’ve been remembering my experiences for learning to drive after I moved to America. If you’re new to my blog, what have you been doing for the last 5 months? Anyway the Twitter version is I never learned to drive when I lived in China. After I moved, my husband took on the role of driving instructor. Looking back, maybe I should have gotten someone like VIP Driving School to help me drive because my husband had picked up bad habits but I still managed to pass! And it was all leading to this; the test. Or as the State of Michigan preferred, the Driving Skills Test. Huh, I don’t hear it now but when I was learning to drive I always heard scary ominous music when I read those words! After all, this would be when I was either told I could go get my driver’s license OR I failed and would have to practice more before I could try it again. You may have heard that we Chinese do NOT like to fail! And there was more riding on this than when I first started learning to drive. “Riding on this” see what I did there? Fine, whatever! Anyway, I was getting ready to start my new job; my first job in America. And I had a new car that was all mine; well not really new but it was all mine. So the pressure was on when I got up early and my husband and I drove to the testing lot. There was a special parking lot in our little town that had different lines painted on the ground that were used to perform the different parts of the test. There were lines that looked like a regular parking lot, others that were like road markings. And still more that were set up for the most terrible of all the simulations, parallel parking!
There are several things you have to do while in this parking lot to show you can control your car and know where most of the important features are. You have to use your lights, your horn, your turn signals and brakes. You have to go forward and backward in straight lines and around curves. After this part you and the instructor head out on the road for more torture, I mean testing! And this would be on several kinds of roads, from slow ones in our town up to the crazy freeway! Oh well, I’d been practicing for months so was about as ready as I would be. We got there on a Saturday morning in March. Luckily there wasn’t any snow on the ground which is quite common in Michigan this time of year. But it was pretty cold! This probably affected my husband more than me though. I was in my nice warm car with the instructor but he had to stand around outside until the testing was finished! A nice reward for all his time teaching me! Oh well, when I got my license I would take him to dinner. Oh he’d still pay but at least I would drive! So the way it worked was you got scored on each of the different requirements. The magic number is 25. If you get more than 25 points from doing this wrong or that wrong you don’t get your certificate. There were some other things that were an automatic failure but those were pretty bad like driving through a red light or causing an accident so I didn’t think these would be a problem.
Ok. Here comes the instructor. He’s got a clip board and pen and gets into the passenger seat as my husband gets out. First he has me drive around the lot. Pretend parking here, backing up there. Left turn, right turn, brake, go. I’m looking forward and at my mirrors like I’ve been practicing but out of the corner of my eye I see him writing on his clip board after every action. Great. That can’t be good. How long does it take to write ok? We finished off with the super stupid parallel parking. Well I got into the spot…mostly…maybe…a little far from the curb but I didn’t hit anything! Now out of the lot and onto the street. We drove through town and then turned to head out of town and towards the freeway entrance. Rats, he didn’t forget that part. Onto the freeway and up to the 70 miles per hour speed limit. But only for one exit so I thought I could do it. Quick glance at the mirror with a sneaky look at the instructor. More writing. What, was he working on his novel? We got off the freeway at the next exit and made our way back to the test lot. We pulled in and I parked and turned off my car. My husband was still there and wasn’t frozen quite solid yet. In fact the sun had come up by now and it was almost up to freezing so I told him to stop being so dramatic! I looked over. Writing, writing, writing, fold, tear. “OK, sign here”. I signed there. And that was it! I had passed. I still had to go to the state driver’s license office and take an eye test and a test of the laws but the driving test I had been practicing for was over! Now what to do with the rest of the day? It was still early and the state office wouldn’t be open on the weekend. So nothing else to do but continue my driving practice. And I knew just where to go. One of the best things about our little town is that it happened to be the home of an outlet mall. It had been a pretty stressful morning so far and some retail therapy was just what I needed to unwind! Of course, my husband would have to pay. After all, I wasn’t working quite yet!
SHOP MY LOOK:
White hat @TJ Maxx
Black jumpsuit @Kohl’s
White sunglasses @Fendi
Gold bag @Valentino
Sandals @Lord &Taylor
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