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September 20, 2007

At the DMV

They make you take a test in CA to get a license. Even if you already had a license in another state!

Something to understand about me is that I am probably at my worst when testing for a driver's license. When first getting a PA driver's license as a teenager, I failed the permit test 3 times, the driving test 2 times... my CAR failed the driving test once... It was a nightmare, the most miserable debacle-laden failure of my life so far.

So when I found out that I would have to take a test, a TEST, to get a CA license, I honestly broke out into a sweat.

I tried to cram, but it's a 60 page manual full of little inane facts and figures and rules and suggestions. And, I had to try to get a license a year before 2008's fall semester starts so I can get in-state CA residency and pay about 15K less. So I had to hurry.

I got 30 pages through and figured the wait would be long at the DMV and I could read the last 30 then.

I was wrong. Somehow, I broke decades of tradition at the DMV, because it almost seemed like they fast tracked me through the long waits and here I was, with my test.

I am told I can get 6 of the 36 wrong and still pass. Gulp.

First two, about drunk driving. What is the legal blood alcohol percentage, and what is the maximum penalty. Can I just tell you, I have taken about 5 sips of alcohol in my entire life. These rules just don't apply to me, so I am completely unaware of them. I take my best guess.

What do you do when a blind pedestrian is at the crosswalk? What do 2 solid lines more than 2 feet apart signify? Which way should you turn your wheels when parking on a downhill slope? And on and on. The sweat beading and rolling down my back, I count up "the ones I basically just guessed on and really for all I know could get wrong."

There are 12 of them. So now I have to hope that my guessing skills are educated enough to get half right.

I read through my test again, and decided to change the answer to the last question. I don't remember what it was, but something nudged me. I hate doing this actually, because often i overthink things and then end up wrong.

I take the test to the lady at the front, she goes through and starts grading them by hand. The DUI questions, I get one of them wrong. I watch happily as she passes over a number of the "questionable" answers I had marked. My guessing was good.

By the time there are only 4 questions left for her to check, I have 3 wrong. Which means that ... unless I get ALL of the rest of them wrong, I'm in.

She marks the fourth to last question. Wrong. 3rd to last question.... Wrong. 2nd to last question... Wrong.

And now I start to feel this very familiar feeling, this feeling that you would no doubt know well if you were a fan of Philadelphia sports teams. This fated tragedy, this destiny of sadness where a million little things have to line up to bring about the worst possible end, one small break in that chain would avert everything! But one by one... you start to just know where this is headed.

She looks at the last question, and then looks at me.

"Congratulations. You passed."

The question I switched!!! I averted the disaster!

Take that, destiny.

Posted by jason on September 20, 2007 11:51 PM


Wow. My heart is racing. But not above the speed limit, mind you.

Posted by: ian on September 21, 2007 01:10 AM

The Eagles could really learn a valuable lesson from this.

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on September 21, 2007 08:49 AM

California is ridiculous... As if Driving were a totally different experience there...

They are such a weird state though. They are the only state that would require me to re-take my pharmacy boards in order to practice in their state..

Posted by: jaysonjaz on September 21, 2007 09:32 AM

and I'm guessing that means you'll never move here.

Posted by: jason on September 21, 2007 10:04 AM

Wow! I was literally in the edge of my seat for that one! I just spent my morning at the Maryland MVA- they are so laid back it's ridiculous.

To answer the question you posed to my husband- no, he will never move to California. However, I had an interesting dream in which I lived in Oregon...

Posted by: Susan on September 21, 2007 11:48 AM

california really feels that it is its own little nation. Or giant nation actually because i think it is bigger than most European countries. It has the only state to state border i have ever seen. It is on the 10 coming from oregon i think. they check for bugs and fruits and (i guess) drugs and stuff. it is wierd. "sir you wanna explain this kiwi?"

Posted by: Joshua Latshaw on September 21, 2007 04:13 PM

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