Monday, July 14, 2008

Beep. Sigh.

You know the old joke--"Can you play the piano?" "I don't know, I never tried." Well, I sort of felt like that about driving. And conducting the orchestra. Haven't we all conducted the orchestra along with the maestro by mentally waiving that wand or whatever they call it dramatically to the music? If the conductor would ever fall ill in the middle of a performance at Carnegie Hall, I could definitely step in. Just wake me up first, ok?

Anyway, back to driving. I've always thought that I could pretty much figure it out, just by being driven around so much. If there is a car ahead of you, don't hit it. Try to brake gently so that no one can sue you for whiplash. Or as my seven year old son explained, "if you want to go right, turn the wheel right, if you want to go left, turn it left and if you're going straight, don't do anything." Not doing anything is my special talent. I should be in Florida in no time.

But apparently, I can add this Instant Driving Plan to my list of Universe Against Marinka, because there is a problem already. First the good news: I received my social security card. Faithful Reader may recall that I need a social security card to apply for a learner's permit and that I had not seen my original social security card since the early 1980s. So, yay, I had the card. I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles website for Phase 2: The Learner's Permit. The good news is that I could study for it on line. The bad news is that it is not as intuitive as I would have liked.

This is the sample test:

A red and white triangular sign at an intersection means
Slow down if an emergency vehicle is approaching.
Look both ways as you cross the intersection.
Always come to a full stop at the intersection.
Slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.

Ok, is it me, or do all of these sound good?

I mean, if an emergency vehicle is approaching, you definitely want to slow down in case there is a hot firefighter or George Clooney ER type in there, right?

And what kind of a moron doesn't look both ways when crossing the intersection?

Always come to a full stop at the intersection? How come? Didn't I just look both ways? Do they now want me to stand still and just gaze from one side to the other? What am I, a cow?

I would like to eliminate the fourth option, however, the "slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary" because I find it too controlling.

A rectangular-shaped sign is
School crossing sign.
Railroad crossing sign.
Stop sign.
Speed limit sign.

Ok, have I had too much to drink or is anyone else blanking of what "rectangular" is? Just me? Ok, then!

But is this a geometry lesson or something? I mean, wouldn't the school crossing sign have some children drawn on it? Or a dollar sign, in the case of private schools? And wouldn't the railroad have Thomas the Tank Engine eerily smiling at me?

And wouldn't the speed limit sign have the number on it to indicate the speed limit?

Seriously, what are these people testing here?

Are they trying to prepare me for the time when my vision is so diminished that all I can make out are blurry shapes and not the writing within?

A diamond-shaped sign is a
Road hazard sign.
Interstate route sign.
School crossing sign.
Speed limit sign.

Is it me, or are they pushing this speed limit sign/school crossing sign thing? And what is the interstate route nonsense? Like, I'm driving in NYC, and suddenly I'm somewhere else? What is the sign for intergalactic travel?

I admit, I am discouraged. Down deep inside, I'd hoped that getting my replacement social security card would be the big challenge in this Driver's License acquisition. But now I see that it's just one piece of the puzzle. And I think we know how I am with puzzles.

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Blogger wfbdoglover said...

Shoot my whole response got deleted.


Here is a little test you can do for practice. It will tell you the answer if you get it wrong. Just practice and it will come naturally soon enough. If you take the bus, sit up front and watch the road, while the driver is driving.

A red and white triangular sign at an intersection means

Slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.

It is a yield sign. It means you have to stop, if another vehicle or biker is on the other road. They have the right away and you would have to stop. If no one is there, you can proceed through the intersection.

(next comment because I don't want to lose this again)

July 14, 2008 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger wfbdoglover said...

A rectangular-shaped sign is The Speed Limit sign.

School crossing sign. - Square bottom/triangle top.

Railroad crossing sign - round
Stop sign- octagon
Speed limit sign rectangle.

You have to know these, because some people are color blind. Most women are not, most men are. You will probably have to take a color test when you get your drivers license.

July 14, 2008 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger wfbdoglover said...

A diamond-shaped sign has me stumped. Road Hazard isn't really diamond shaped, it is a square on it's side.

The interstate sign has a curvey bottom and a wavy top, school crossing is a triangle top and square bottom, speed limit is retangular.

If I can help anyfurther, I'll do my best.

Don't they have a class you can take? You'll do fine, just relax.

July 14, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger anymommy said...

I'm first. I just like saying that. Persevere. There's only so many shapes they can throw at you. Think of the 'blog gold' too, as BHJ says.

And I have to add, because it makes me so happy, that I passed my driving test the first time while my husband failed. I never let him forget. Which is why he never lets me forget that I once drove completely through our garage door.

July 14, 2008 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

OMG, that has been one of my biggest fears, driving through the garage door because I back into everything! That's what bumpers are for!

About the intersections, I tell new drivers 3 things I have learned from years of youthful accidents, 1. always use your turn signals, even if you think no one is around, 2. never go fast on ice or gravel and 3. if you are at a red light and it turns green, look both ways before you go because most of the accidents i have seen are people running lights.
And if you come to California, you have to turn your head 360 degrees before you can even think about changing lanes!

July 14, 2008 at 4:14 AM  
Blogger Marinka said...

WFB-thanks! The NY DMV has a website with all the rules, but that requires, you know, looking at it.

Anymommy-- Yes, you're first. I can't believe Anyhusband teases you about driving through the garage door! Perhaps his poor attitude led to his failing the driving test?

Jonathan-I'll practice the Linda Blair head turning technique!

July 14, 2008 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger wfbdoglover said...

Ha Ha HA Jonathan, bumper parking is only for New York, not other parks of the country. ha ha

July 14, 2008 at 7:07 AM  
Anonymous sdl said...

You're right, Jonathan--I've only ever had two accidents and one of them was going through a light that had just turned green and being hit by a little old lady who was running the light.

anymommy, running through the garage door is not a problem I will ever have since our garage has never yet been empty enough to park a car. It's a 1-car garage, or as my friend refers to it, the potting shed.

July 14, 2008 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

You've got me worried. I need to renew my license in August and I hope to God they don't make me retake any test but the vision.

July 14, 2008 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger anymommy said...

Except, I wan't first, so it didn't make a lot of sense. You and your comment screening, Marinka, it only looked like I was first.

sdl - you obviously do not live in the frozen tundra arctic north like I do. Car must fit into garage or monumental scraping makes any trip not worth it.

July 14, 2008 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Ok, I gotta laugh a little at this.

I'm in TX, and I have to drive EVERYWHERE. You cannot live here without one. I got my license the week after my 16th bday. But my inlaws are from Manhattan (live in Houston now, and that's Houston, not Howston, thankyouverymuch) and still freak about driving. Even though they've been here 30 years.

And when we visited relatives up there last year, one of the younger cousins was totally aghast that I have to drive my kids 9 miles to school. Because in his mind, that was New Jersey.

July 15, 2008 at 6:51 AM  

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