Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting my "driver's permit"

That's ri-god-damn-diculous.
Last week I finally got my driver's permit. Well, my third driver's permit. Ten and seven years ago, I had one, but managed to fail every one of my road tests, due to a combination of poor attention, poor vision, and poor instruction (note to new drivers: you should be the most nervous person in the car, not your teacher). It was a bit of a struggle to even get a permit this time, since my right eye is so bad that I had to get a note from an optometrist saying that I am okay to drive, even though I am functionally as one-eyed as a one-eyed cat in a pretty pink sweater. This necessitated getting a new optometrist here in Maryland, which frankly I wouldn't have done until I lost a contact because I am super-lazy about my health.

I expected more static about my age than I actually got, although I did get some static re: my optometrist's form, since the little old lady behind the counter hadn't ever seen one before and had to make sure it exempted me from the vision test I'd already flunked a month ago. After the knowledge test (which I shouldn't have studied so hard for as it was well and truly nothing) and some paperwork, I was in! I'm a (trainee) driver!

When I left the MVA I was practically quivering with excitement, clutching my brand-new learner's permit, the photo of which makes me look like a mushroom. I sent the message out to all the Interwebs, as is the style at the time. Perhaps this makes me seem like a sell-out to the various punks and zinesters who possibly read this blog, but I am VERY excited about getting my license. I didn't feel any stigma about not having one when I lived in Pittsburgh for the last five years, but since I moved to semi-suburban Baltimore County (and especially before I moved to Pittsburgh, when I lived in a town of less than 2000 people), I've been feeling, well, kind of useless. I can't seem to land a job, since a lot of the retail stores want someone who can commute to different store locations if need be, and I'm restricted to what I can get to on the bus line. (And while there is bus service in the county, it's about as sparse as it is for Pittsburgh suburbs that don't get T service... rather spotty.) Not having a license also makes my eventual goal of getting a nursing degree less likely, since what are the chances that I'm going to get a medical job within walking or biking distance of me? Not very good! I am sure there are also people who would also call me a sell-out for desiring a 9-5, five days a week lifestyle (although, as I'd rather work part time unless it's a "career" job, I guess that's more of a 10-4 three days a week type of lifestyle)... but I need structure like the desert needs the rain, I desire financial independence even though I'm married, and ever since sorting out the situation with my "meth," I've realized that having a job will not necessarily mean a complete shutdown in all other areas of my life, and that I have the power to keep a job for longer than six months. I also would like to be able to go to shows, visit friends in other cities, etc., without having to bug/drag along the resident driver of the house. Even if he's game, there's still things I'd rather do on my own. At this point my freedom means more to me than any possible ecological damage. Can I stop justifying this or should I go another 400 words?

In short, I am now ready for adulthood to begin. But I need the requisite laminated card, which is a driver's license!

So far I've been out three times, and I've found the process a lot easier than it used to be. Normally the view from the driver's seat looks a lot like this:

This time around, though, I'm paying attention to a good 90% of what's on the road. There are still some issues with speed (namely, not enough speed) and turning etiquette, but it's not nearly as bad as when I would stop driving whenever I got confused or distracted by something on the road. I haven't run over any traffic islands... yet. And according to my "driving mentor," I rate a solid nine stars on a scale of eight to ten stars.

Maryland requires a lot from their "rookie drivers." Everyone has to take driver's ed, regardless of age or driving history. So I put in a $200 deposit on driving classes, which are going to cost almost half a grand all told. The classes are being taught by a Mr. "Wigs" (quotation marks theirs), who is either a) a man named Wigzienewski or b) a man whose last name is actually Wigs, and he's balding, but nobody wants to tell him that his toupee really stinks, and he also doesn't understand sarcasm quotation marks, because maybe he's slightly socially maladjusted and never really got subtle social clues? So someone (perhaps a temp desperate for approval) comes up with the idea of printing his name as Mr. "Wigs" in the brochure and everyone at the driving school is snickering at him, and poor Mr. Wigs can't understand why, puzzling it out at night over his sad TV dinner, brushing his sad little toupee. For shame, driving school brochure typographer. For shame.

And with that, I'm out.


  1. You can't buy & haul home a decent amount of cat litter without a vehicle. I know, I've tried. I doubt most punks and zinesters who are anti-car (if there are that many left) don't toilet train their cats or make their own litter.

  2. That's when you contact your support network of awesome communal-farming pals to ferry you around in their bio-diesel truck. Actually, wait, cats are carnivores, so no real punk vegan warrior would have one anyway.

    (One time I tried to drag a 20-lb box of litter one mile from Giant Eagle to my apartment in Pittsburgh. It took almost an hour. Usually I just bought five boxes at once when my parents were over.)

  3. Congratulation,Drivers permit is really hard to get specially when your driving teacher is not so good giving advice even your nervous on driving.Good job you got it.