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Yes, I failed my driver's test

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Yes, I failed my driver's test

Go ahead, laugh at me and get it out of your system

 Okay, before you laugh at me, you have to hear the whole story.

Increasingly disturbed by what's been taking place in our financial sector and in our government's response to it, I did some soul searching.  If I so wholeheartedly disagree with what's going on, then why am I supporting it with my own dollars?

So last week, I headed down to Horizon Credit Union to open an account, preparatory to closing my account at Bank of America. (Tell me, does that make all that follows Ken Lewis' fault? I hope so.)

Molly at Horizon was awesome but the whole terrorism mess means that you have to show proof of ID to open an account. So when I whipped out my driver's license, Molly looks at me and says, "You know this is expired, right?"

WRONG! I did NOT know it was expired and when I looked at her and said something lame like, "are you sure? 'Cause that would have been back in October," she looked right back and said, "Yes, October. Of 2007."

Boy, feeling stupid is never fun but it's even worse when you feel that way in public.

By the time I was done at Horizon it was too late to get my driver's license renewed so I did it on my next trip into Sandpoint, which was to be a pit stop on the way to Spokane to pick up the new issue of the River Journal. That's when I discovered that, when you're over a year expired, it's just like you have no license at all and you must re-do everything - eye test, written test and skills exam.

But first, you have to re-prove that you are, indeed, an Idaho resident. I thought my truck - AKA my traveling trash can - might actually be of service, but no... you see, I live in Clark Fork where there's no home mail delivery. Not a single piece of garbage in the truck (and my, was there a LOT of it) had my physical address on it. Finally I called Avista, confessed my stupidity regarding my driver's license, and got them to fax a bill to the DMV. Bear in mind, this is after I've confessed to the DMV and everyone there what I had done i.e. my expired license. Stupid is bad, stupid in public is worse, but confessing stupidity? Oh, now that is punishment.

Fax in hand, I took the eye test which I actually passed because you don't have to be able to read in order to be able to see to drive. In fact, reading while driving is generally frowned upon, at least, close-up reading is. Next stop, the written test.

I headed over to the computer (because Sandpoint, ya know, is high tech now) then paused. "Do you think I should take a look at the book?" I asked of the room at large. "Cause I guarantee, I won't get any of the distance questions." Marcie, employed by the DMV, was smart: "I can't tell you what's on the test," but then one test taker piped up and said, "I didn't get any distance questions on my test."

"Okay," I said, "I'll try it."

I think the first answer I got wrong was the one where I pressed the wrong button. The answer was, say, "B" and I knew it was B but I pressed C. And it asked me, "is C your answer?" and I said yes. And then it started flashing the letter B and saying, "the correct answer is B" while I'm telling the computer (out loud, yes) "Well, I know that. What's wrong with you?"

One wrong.

And then came the distance questions. "When you're passing a car on a two lane road, you must be able to pass the car and return to your lane with no more than (fill in the blank) feet before an oncoming car." or something like that.

Feet. Damn. "About a half a mile," was the guess in my head because one of the reasons I'm called a "Grandma" driver is my caution in passing. But half a mile was not on the multiple choice. 

I think I said ‘100 feet’ and the answer was ‘200 feet’ but don’t quote me on that, even though I looked it up later. That number stuff just won’t stay in my head.

Then I missed the one on Idaho’s Open Range Law. Idaho has an Open Range Law? Damn! Okay, I thought to myself, what is it in Montana? Well, I didn’t know, so I guessed that motorists have the right-of-way (as opposed to “hit a cow and you bought it.”

Guess what? In Idaho, it’s “hit a cow and you bought it.” Duh. What a stupid guess! I mean, any law relating to cattle in Idaho benefits the cattle owner, so why should I have guessed this one was different?

I was now counting misses (you can only get 7 out of 40 wrong) on my fingers. And then came a series of measurement questions. “Eighteen inches!” I whispered frantically to myself. This is the distance from which you must park from a curb when parallel parking, an answer I know as, despite being a champion parallel parker, I’ve had it pointed out to me a couple of times that three feet is not the same as 18 inches.

I didn’t get that question, though.

“The correct answer is….”

I was beginning to panic.

And then I got the stupid one. “When entering a roadway from a driveway or unposted road…” what do you do?

Yield to the damn traffic, of course!

NO. You STOP. Then you yield to traffic.

One more distance question and I was toast, and the entire room busted out in laughter. “Just think,” said one man. “This makes it an even better story for the River Journal.”

I can’t take the test again for three days and, by the way, can’t ethically drive. (I say ethically, because technically I could drive and take the risk that I’d get pulled over and be busted for an expired license.) So I called big brother Joe and explained how I was going to need a chauffeur for a few days, starting now with a trip to Spokane to pick up the new issue of the River Journal. He laughed, but tried at times to smother his laughter saying, “it could have been me.” Of course, it wasn’t him, so he didn’t quit laughing much.

My kids were even worse, holding in their wallets, as they do, valid driving licenses which show that they all passed their tests.(And I drive better than any of them!) David told everyone he met today, about my failing the test, as did Misty, so the word is out and the laughter is climbing

So there. Go ahead and get it out of your system. I FAILED MY DRIVING TEST! But just keep in mind, I get another chance, and one of these days I’m going to be back out there on the road, with all of you who laughed at me.

Unless I fail it again, of course.

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Landon Otis

Tagged as:

driving, Horizon Credit Union, driver's license

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