Posts Tagged ‘driving’

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.

Recently I had to go to the DMV. My reasoning was I wanted to waste an entire week waiting for help. Really it was because I got a ticket for having expired plates. I would have loved if I got some warning in the mail about this. They had been expired since at least November. The car used to be under my mom’s name so when she died I had to switch it over to mine. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I contemplated a sex change operation followed up by a name change to make things easier. Anything to avoid having to deal with government workers. Even if it means testicular removal.

I headed to the DMV which is conveniently located down the road from my work which is inconveniently located an hour away. I had been to this DMV before many times. I have lots of good memories. This is the same place I failed car inspection for having bad windshield wipers. I got there early armed with every piece of identification I could find. My birth certificate, social security card, registration, license, passport, copy of my finger prints, picture of my genitals signed by a doctor, a trustworthy friend who could identify who I am, a bill in the mail with my address, an old high school yearbook, and the video of me being birthed. They told me I was still a few points short, but would let it slide since I put in a valiant effort.

I filled out the form with a giant pen next to a Mexican guy who didn’t like me standing next to him. I got into the proper line and was treated like an idiot. I had to go back out to my car to gather up information on my insurance. I returned to see a woman with a television mom haircut in my spot and a new person helping out at the number 4 cubicle. An elderly black woman approached me and said she would help me. I knew this was a good sign as elderly black women can usually see the future. I had it made.

(“I predict white women everywhere will buy whatever I tell them to buy even if it doesn’t work or they do not need it”)

She returned shortly after saying that my registration was suspended. She seemed suspicious of me. Probably because I was the only one there who spoke English or wasn’t arguing. I was informed that due to my switching insurance last year it probably suspended it and that I should have filled out a form in the mail. So I think that makes two things that I never received in the mail. I was given a copy of the 4 step directions to get to the DMV in Trenton and after a little bit of debating I decided I would not go that day and hope that a revolution started before I had to get this problem resolved.

(The last time Americans revolted men died so young that they had to wear fake white hair just so we’d know who would die soon of natural causes)

Americans are too big of whiners to start a revolution so two days later I attempted to get to the Trenton DMV. If you need to know anything about Trenton it’s this, it stinks. I’m convinced it’s the worst state capitol. Or is it capital? I never remember that dumb rule. There’s literally nothing to do there. There are no happening spots. No places to pick up drunk chicks and drive them into the woods before killing them. The directions I had said that parking was across the street from the DMV. The problem with things being across the street from buildings that take up an entire block is that there are 4 across the streets. I pulled into the employee parking and had to back out. Then I did it again into another employee parking lot. How many employees are there at the DMV? I saw about 7 people actually working. I think the rest of the employees died years ago in some tragic terrorist attack and they’re afraid of moving a current employee’s car. Yeah, they could look up who the car belongs to but this is the DMV. That would require them to work.

I found parking and hit a light post. I hit lots of light posts. I moved my car because I was concerned that I hit the light post so hard that it could topple over. I’d let someone else suffer due to my mistake. I got out of my car as most people do when finished parking. I wasn’t sure if I should cross the street in the middle of the road or walk to the end and use the crosswalk. An outdoor adventurer, a homeless man with a giant garbage bag, led the Pickett’s Charge across. I followed at his side every step of the way. Who says the homeless are useless? Their good for shielding us from oncoming traffic.

(I prefer the homeless shield to shield my home)

The first line I got into looked promising. I figured this would go pretty quick. The receptionist in the front sent me to cubicle number 25. At 25 I was met with a woman with a dead hand. Maybe it was broken, but it also looked kind of tiny. Dead hands also amuse me so let’s pretend that’s what it was. She too thought I was retarded for having a problem with my motor vehicle. She gave me a blue note card with the number 229 on it and informed me that I should take a seat and wait to be called. That’s when the fun began.

I sat waiting to be called as my girlfriend texted me and picked a fight. Great, I’m at the worst government department on the planet, in a terrible city, still have to go to work later in the day, and now my girlfriend is telling me how much of a shit I am. If a man ran into the room with a gun my life would have improved. It was about 40 minutes before my number was called. They even started at 220 so I wasn’t that far away. It was that gap between 228 and 229 that killed me. That took 15 minutes. When I was called I eagerly popped up and made my way over to cubicle number 20. Maybe I would get this all resolved in under an hour.

The woman at cubicle 20 was an elderly black woman. I explained to her the situation and made sure to throw in about how I only changed insurance because my mom’s death. She didn’t give me an “oh child peace be with you” which I was hoping for. She disappeared briefly and I took a look around her office space. She had stuff for the Dallas Cowboys and a lot of breast cancer stuff. I was going to use this to my advantage. Troy Aikman, Don Meredith, mastectomies, any names or words I could think of popped into my head. If I couldn’t beat the system I was going to charm them into being nice.

(Hopefully none of these women ever get breast cancer. They’d be forever unemployed)

Cubicle 20 worker returned and told me she was going to do some “soul searching” to fix my problem. I thanked her and took a seat, again. This time things were more crowded. People were watching movies on DVD players. Long movies too. I think the guy got through the first two Star Wars movies and got to the first Ewok sighting in the third. I listened to a few conversations too. New Jersey stereotypes in front of my talking like Tony Danza and being fat and greasy really got on my nerves to the point I almost sat in the chair in front of the kid who kept kicking it. My number was called about 10 minutes later and I returned to Cubicle 20.

For the first time in history someone received good news at the DMV. I was told that everything had been fixed and I need not worry. My plates were now up to date. I had to sign one form and I was set. Before leaving, the cubicle 20 worker showed me sympathy. She even asked how my mom died and before I could give an honest answer she said “What it cancer?” Now I had my problem resolved and she was very nice to me, but I had already planned out in my head to pretend that it was cancer. You know, for bonus points. I said “Yes” because saying “No” would have raised more questions and ruined the connection we had made. It felt like if I didn’t say my mom died of cancer or tackling a Washington Redskin running back I would have had to wait longer. She told me that my mother would always watch over me and I know if that’s true she was probably laughing at my taking advantage of someone else. If you think I’m a jerk-off for doing this, remember, this was the DMV I was dealing with. I was ready to tell her that I had breast cancer to get quicker service.

I got my new registration really quickly from a Spanish man across the way. I headed out to my car and used another homeless man, this one carrying boots, as a shield. I got into my car and drove off into the sunset. That’s the great thing about the DMV. You can drive there into the sunrise and by the time you leave it’s the sunset. Get it? Because it takes a long time. The moral of the story; don’t trust mailmen, use the horrible things in your life and the lives of others for your convenience, and jokes from the 1980s are still relevant.

(Tomorrow, Airline Peanuts!)

(My daily commute, in map form!)

On average, it takes me an hour to get to work. This enables me to think a lot. It probably also screws with my posture and is the reason why I hate driving. I never was all that excited about driving. I used to think as soon as I could drive I would go tons of places. New York City, Los Angeles, Cancun, Zimbabwe, anywhere my car could take me I’d go! Then I discovered how much gas costs. And how much an oil change costs. And how much labor on car repairs costs. At times it seems like I only work to pay to own a car. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled in that thing.

When I moved to my current location I had planned on quitting my job after a few months and finding something better. The only real job I could probably get would be one that pays less than at my current one. There are also other problems. The first being that I’m not good-looking enough to work at Applebees. Have you seen the people who work there? Hubba-Hubba! It’s like you get rejected from Applebees and then pursue underwear modeling. I’ve written before how sexy I find waitresses. I’m currently dating a girl who works at Chilis. She doesn’t know we’re dating and I’m still waiting to say more to her than “Another Diet Coke please!” Our fingers touched once on the soda hand off. I hope she doesn’t realize I did that on purpose. I want her to think it’s fate. The only other reason preventing me from quitting my current job is being a coward. I’m too comfortable there. I’ve been there six years plus now. I know the ins and outs. I associate comfort with sadness and anger. Anything that feels comfortable also is a detriment in my life. Take my bed for instance. Very comfy. The problem with it? Not enough waitresses in it! And you thought you had it rough.

Today going to work I realized that my commute is entirely too long. Nobody should have to drive an hour to a job they don’t really like. I probably shouldn’t type out that I don’t like my job on the off-chance that a coworker or boss reads this. My logic is that they will read this, I will be called into a large room with a council of faceless individuals behind dark smoke, and they will on a giant computer visit my site and tell me why I am fired. Not only will this force me to get my ass in gear and try out something new, it would also give me an extra hit to my blog. Double score!

As an attempt to capitalize on my painfully long commute I have attempted to make a humorous list of things that let you know that your commute is too long. I think calling this humorous completely negates the possibility of this containing any slice of humor. Sorry to disappoint you. Now you understand how my family feels toward me.

1) Coldplay comes on the radio more than once

I don’t like Coldplay. A bearded 20-year-old found out that I liked Led Zeppelin and recommended Coldplay to me because of that. I punched him the groin soon there after.

Driving a lot gives me time to listen to a lot of radio. I am an expert into how many times certain songs are played. Never in the course of an hour except during a double shot should I have to suffer through two Coldplay songs. Do they not realize that I could kill someone with my vehicle out of anger? One an hour is plenty.

2) You know the morning, midday, and afternoon drive DJ names of at least 3 radio stations

Like I mentioned, I listen to a lot of radio. Even at home I do. Mostly sports talk which is painful this time of year because baseball and hockey are the only sports I’m committed to.

I’m probably the only person under the age of 84 who has radio programs that he enjoys and schedules his life around. I feel like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. The only difference between us is I already got my gun. It’s called my right arm.

3) You’ve seen 10 accidents in one day

I’ll be fair with this one. The day I saw 10 accidents was during that freak snow storm we had in the Northeast right before Halloween. It was like Armageddon out there.

In all of my driving (I’ve driven about 80,000 miles in my life) I’ve never been in an accident. I know I might be jinxing this and am shaking as I type this. I’m a very careful driver. People honk their horns at me and scream obscenities as I go 40 on the highway. This is their way of saying they’re jealous. Slow and steady wins the race.

4) People tell you to “get home safe” even when it isn’t a special occasion or bad weather outside

I know it’s sweet for people to wish me luck in getting home, but I can handle it. Imagine the one time someone does forget to say that and you die. That’ll haunt them for a few years.

Most of my drive is 35 miles down a highway which never has heavy traffic. I could probably do it with my eyes closed at this point. I never would though. Fall foliage between exits 47 and 52 keeps me alert. Nothing like bright oranges, reds, and browns to keep me from wanting to die.

5) You’ve eaten food off of the passenger seat of your car you got so hungry

To be fair it was a piece of cereal.

To be unfair I have no clue what type of cereal it was. Not even sure if it was from the previous owner or not.

6) You’ve gotten off at the wrong exit

When you drive the same route every day, you’d think you’d never make a mistake. It’s only happened once where I got off the wrong exit. Once too many.

I was only one exit early and it delayed me in getting home by about 10 minutes. I was really hungry and had already eaten the only piece of cereal I could scavenge from my passenger seat. I haven’t made the same mistake since. The taking the wrong exit thing. I still eat cereal I find.

7) Your check engine light comes on and turns off in the same drive

It’s never happened to me, but I’m sure it has to someone. There are people out there with much longer commutes than I have. Anything is possible.

My check engine light always comes on. No matter what car I own it’s inevitable. The mechanics always try to tell me that I should get it checked out. It always ends up being nothing. That’s why I don’t trust mechanics or ever take their advice. Sorry but white guys with hands that look like they belong on Flava Flav are not my role models.

8) You’ve come up with brilliant ideas that you forget because your idea has now turned into a conversation with yourself

I do this all the time. I have a lot of conversations in my head. I feel this isn’t as crazy as it reads. The crazy part is that most of my head conversations involve Jay Leno interviewing me on my newest movie. We laugh and go out for drinks after the show. That’s a taste inside my head.

The worst thing about getting a great idea when you’re driving is that you have to keep repeating it in your head so that you’ll remember it before writing it down. This stops you from having new brilliant ideas. Then when you get home you realize it wasn’t a great idea after all. Like my dream that I wrote down about a song that was about having the same birthday as the Pope.

Same as the Pope,

Same as the Pope,

Just like the Pope,

Same as the Pope.

I know my lyrics aren’t up there with the likes of John Lennon or Billy Ray Cyrus, but damn it at least I don’t have a hole in my head or slut my daughter around.

Cars are something I should be very thankful for. Believe it or not, they didn’t always exist. Many years ago we’d have to use animal backs to get around on. Animals probably hated this. It’s got to be rough to have THE CAMEL LIFE!!! or the life of a horse, elephant, or gigantic spider. People are always climbing on their backs. I almost don’t feel bad when they buck someone off.

I hope your commute isn’t very long. It can be hell driving a long distance to somewhere you really would rather not be at. I feel comfortable saying that I don’t want to be at work. Nobody wants to be there. Even my bosses say how much they hate it. Would they be going back to school in a completely unrelated degree field if they loved their job so much? Not unless they’re trying to throw me for a loop. Damn Illuminati. I’ve been foiled again!