Thursday, October 26, 2006

Should have seen that one coming.

To be clear, yesterday’s dental extravaganza only took about 20 minutes. It was 7:40 am and I was ready to move forward with some more excitement. In a little less than one week, my driver’s license will expire. In light of this, the Department of Motor Vehicles has taken the time to inform me via regular mail that I must come down to the DMV, pay them money, then take a written test to prove that I still have what it takes to pilot a four wheeled, non-commercial vehicle.

I arrived at the DMV about 10 minutes before 8. There was already a line outside. Awesome, I thought. I was afraid I’d get done with this quickly and be able to sit in traffic sooner rather than later on my way to work. (by the way, it’s a little known fact that if I leave my house at 7:00 am, I can get to work by 7:40. But if I leave at 7:10 am, I’m lucky to get there by 8:15. Math was never my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t add up quite right. If I leave at 8:30, well, I’m just going to be late, there’s no way around it.) The doors opened promptly at 8 and all of us happy-to-be-at-the-DMV-before-8-am people cheerfully walked inside.

I’m not sure how they’re handling the DMV situation in other states, but they seem to be working out the kinks here in CA, or at least in my county. Now, everyone gets funneled through the information desk, and depending on your business and appointment status (either you have one or you don’t), you are given a number and told to wait until that number is called. It seems to me to be a fairly efficient way to move people through the line. Rather than have everyone actually stand and get more and more annoyed by the one lady who has no real information regarding her car’s license plate number, her driver’s license number or even her home address, but is convinced that she absolutely, positively needs to get some sort of misunderstanding taken care of here at the DMV, we can all just sit down, relax and stare at the keno like screen for our number to pop up, at which point we feel like we’ve won something and are more than happy to go to the window to collect our prize.

I drew G004. I immediately felt like I had a winner in my hands. And after they called F001 5 times without anyone jumping up to claim victory, I was proven right. In order to claim my prize, a series of death defying tests would be required of me.

First, with only the use of my eyes, I was made to read 6, somewhat small letters on a chart nearly 10 feet away. Once with both eyes, and again with just my left eye, then with just my right. I was yelled at when I used only my fingers to cover my right eye, not my entire palm. I only made that mistake once. After I passed this daunting task, I was shipped off to the other side of the building where my thumbprint and a picture of my face were taken. I assumed these would be used for identification purposes if I failed the next test and was never seen nor heard from again.

Once the ID work was taken care of (and I can assure you, I looked spectacular in the photo. I’ve shaved as recently as 3 weeks ago, and rather than use product in my hair, I simply wore a hat most of the morning.), I was handed two written tests to complete. I had been prepared for one, but not for two. (and by prepared, I mean I knew the test was coming, I certainly didn’t study for it. I didn’t study for any of my tests in college, and I wasn’t going to start now.) That’s when I was reminded that my license doesn’t just say that I have a class C license, it also states that I have a class M1 license. That, ladies and gentleman, is for my motorcycle license. I was taken aback. But I remained calm as ever on the outside. I hadn’t taken the written driving test in over a decade, but the motorcycle one I had taken about 4 and a half years ago, so I figured that would be the easier of the two.

In retrospect, I probably should have spent more time in answering all of the questions. 5 minutes seemed a bit fast for the 43 combined questions. That means I spent an average of just under 7 seconds per question. And I know for a fact that I spent more than that on some, so there must have been a few that I didn’t even read…

I passed the driving portion without any problems, but on the motorcycle portion, which was twice as long, I missed 8 questions. You’re only allowed to miss 4. I can retake the test as many times as I want for the next year, so I’m not really that worried about it, but I do feel it necessary to show you what kinds of questions I missed. Check out the following picture.

The correct answer has the red slash through it. I have not photoshopped this at all. You tell me, does that answer seem like prudent riding to you given the picture? Was my answer really wrong?

In the mean time, I can still drive a car. I have an impossible to counterfeit piece of paper that says so. Unfortunately, when my new license comes, it will have “LOSER” stamped across my face until I can pass that motorcycle test. In the mean time, my girlfriend, mother and one of my sisters, couldn’t be happier about my illegal motorcycle status. But the jokes on them because I haven’t even ridden my motorcycle in over 2 and a half years! Ha ha!!

After that, I went to work, sucked at my job, stayed late to make up the hour and a half I was late, came home, posted (what? Yeah, I have this blog… sometimes I post.) and called it a day.

Ok, that’s two posts in two days… I’m starting to wheeze… that’s not normal… typing shouldn’t make you wheeze…


cadiz12 said...

WHAT? 2 posts in 2 days? ah, you make this dungeon slave's day.

for the record, i never have and never will be classified as one of those "happy-to-be-at-the-DMV-before-8-am people."

dare i say i'm looking forward to tomorrow's post?

jazz said...

i loved my trip to the DMV (temecula baby, i'm not a CA license holder).

will post about it soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to get hooked on this. If you keep up the posts, you'll soon have a new person to disappoint when you disappear without posting for long stretches.

I love the DMV. Even more because I don't think we have to take written tests to renew licenses in NY - I'm pretty sure I can do it by mail. Not that I ever have yet. I did renew my permit, though, and that was done in person with a test.

Edna B said...

We dont ever, ever have to resit driving tests again after the first time we pass.
Just another reason to love Australia.

omar said...

Yeah, we don't have to re-test in NY. Though I think that people should have to re-take a road test once they reach age 55. Then every 5 years from that point on.

And I'm not sure what the state of California has against Rider B, but I don't think he deserves to get killed by the CAR RIGHT BEHIND RIDER A.

For the record, I agree with your girlfriend, mom, and one of your sisters. Motorcycles are bad news.

datura547 said...

I think Jon actually meant to say "my girlfriend, mother, one of my sisters, omar, and my friend Sara who has chided me numerous times for my motorcycling ways..."


Jon said...

Cadiz: Yeah, two posts in two days… and if you think that’s mind blowing, wait until you see what I have planned….

Jazz: I can’t wait!! Love DMV stories!

Lia: Word to the wise, I drive people insane. People that I like.

And NY has the best license around as far as physical ID’s are concerned. Those things are nigh invulnerable…

Edna B: I’ve long dreamed of the day when I get to visit Australia… now the longing only grows…

Omar: I agree with the 55 thing, but I want to take it one step further, I want to have different licenses for different driving abilities. Some people are very good drivers and some are very bad. Because of this, you should license accordingly. Then you should only be able to purchase cars within your license group. And if you think Grand Tourismo influenced me in any way… well… you’re right.

And CA doesn’t seem to give a crap about rider B. Somebody wants him dead, that’s for sure. Either that, or getting your motorcycle license in CA is more about being Evil Knivel than being a safe and courteous driver. Or they need to work on their clip art…

Datura547: You’d think all of the chiding would have left more of an impression… well, the bad news is that I will go back and once again renew my motorcycle license, but the good news is, the motorcycle itself is on the market… all I need now is a buyer…

Anonymous said...

I am the epitome of happy-to-be-at-the-DMV-before-8 people. unfortunately, the people at the DMV aren't like that so I end up staying there till noon.

your process is exactly the same as our process! I think. this makes me happy, oddly enough.

did you wear the hat because you were scared your rogue hair would rat you out and lie and tell the DMV about how you abuse it, and then they wouldn't give you any license? move.