As much as I can degrade my high school the one thing I will never insult them was on their driver’s education program. In 10th grade instead of health class for the first marking period we had driver’s education. It was a very productive thing as no students from my graduating class have died from car crashes. Many have died from health related issues so maybe picking driving instructions over teaching us about how to live a healthy lifestyle wasn’t such a good idea.
(Class of 2006! Lets go Spartans!)
The process for learning how to drive in my school was simple. First you go to health class and learn all the stupid rules. Second you do something called “The Simulator” (I know, that sounds so incredibly sexy). The Simulator was basically a virtual driving test filmed in the 1970s. 12 students sit in fake cars and we have to act appropriately to whatever happens on the big screen in front of us. The computer scores if we reacted properly to each scenario and gives us a point value. The first week many of us got scores in the 70s, some much lower. By the end most of us were scoring consistently near 100. A few girls still after a month of this everyday were getting scores near 50. This means they were screwing up nearly half the time while driving. Luckily these girls all seemed so scummy that I doubt any will ever even be able to afford a car.
If you pass The Simulator then you wait around in study hall for your birthday to come around. Once your birthday does come it’s time to actually go out on the road. A vision test is required before you can participate in “Behind the Wheel” the program where you actually drive a real life car. I did very badly on the vision test. The school nurse told me to try again. I did poorly again. She pointed to the big E on the very top. I said “E” and she said “Good enough.” And that’s why I shouldn’t be allowed to drive without glasses.
(Will you look at this, I wasn’t even right with the E)
When Behind the Wheel actually came I was assigned a partner and a gym teacher to help me learn how to drive. My partner was the biggest NASCAR fan in the school. My gym teacher was probably the tallest teacher in school. We were a unique bunch and certainly we would all die together in some horrific crash.
There were so many birthdays in October that my first chance behind the wheel of a car was sometime in the winter after a big snow storm. I gave NASCAR Boy the first ups in driving. I thought for sure he would zoom out of the parking lot and make a left-hand turn without thinking. Instead we were treated to 3 miles per hour and the gym teacher/driving instructor telling him to “speed it along.” On the first day we drove through a local neighborhood and at a random point switched. I got behind the wheel of a car for the first time legally and managed to survive.
Behind the Wheel continued for another 2 weeks or so. Everyday instead of doing homework and trying to avoid the fat Spanish kid who always made fun of me during study hall, I would go out and practice driving. At one point I almost drove into a Blockbuster as I had no understanding of the term “ride the brake.” I also got stuck in a circle with many yield signs. Nobody had ever told me a yield sign means to move out of the way as fast as you can and rudely cut off as many people as you can. I thought yield was an old-timey word for stop. So I did stop. And that’s the time I got honked at by someone else for the first time.
(I can’t think of any other instances in life where yielding is necessary. Maybe cooking? Raping? I don’t do either much so only driving shall this word remain relevant)
I passed Behind the Wheel as did my partner. For the next few months I had my learner’s permit and would jump at every opportunity to drive with my mom, dad, or sister. I practiced parallel parking for about 20 minutes total and have done it properly once since. It’s much simpler to abandon your car and buy a new one than to try parallel parking in a pressure situation.
On the day of my actual driver’s test at the DMV I had to wait in a long line. My birthday falls around Columbus Day so things were backed up from the holiday weekend. I finally got to the front, nervous I might get stuck with the infamous black driving instructor who I heard was a real asshole. Instead I got with some fat woman who seemed equally as mean. They tried to trick me by putting a stop sign within the first 10 feet of where the test begins. Ha! You can’t fool me. Everyone already told me about that trick. Someone cut me off during my test and I spent the rest of the evaluation talking to the driving instructor about how much other people deserve to die.
(Every driver here deserves to die. Especially the ones with the stupid yellow tops. Are those rickshaws?)
It took one try and I got my license easy. I was blind and learned everything I knew from a guy who was a kickball teacher. Yet with these disadvantages I managed to get my license. And now I have to pay $20 to get it renewed. I’m pretty sure license renewals are just ways to track down wanted killers and people living off the grid. We can fake a moon landing but we still cannot make the DMV a fun place to visit. Life stinks sometimes.