edge-of-your-seat stuff – road test for a license

It was a tense 5 days in the Moorthy-Felder household. The tension was palpable. Will he or won’t he? Parallel park or curb hit? The first time, which was also the last time, was not a pleasant experience. Watertown, rude DMV examiner, Friday afternoon, parallel parking jitters, and most irritating of all, no appeal process when the examiner notes down that I did not do “this or that”, especially when i had done “this or that”. This time, Dorchester was the target, and I had a good feeling about it.
The day before the test, we decided that a dry run would be a good thing to do, on tuesday evening, the day before the test. We set out for Dorchester at 5 PM. Like jungle cats on the prowl, the both of us in the little green Subaru smoothly glided along on the streets near the Dorchester RMV. We did not know it yet, but the dry run route would turn out to be the exact route the the road test examiner would take us on the next day.
Wednesday dawned and filled the house with sunlight. Both Lex and I were ready to go at 7 AM, a full 2 hours before the scheduled road test time. But we decided to cool our heels for another hour, before heading to the site of the test. On reaching the RMV, we saw that the road was empty, but there was a sign on a pole, indicating that the people taking the road test should line up under it. Since we were early, we decided to do another dry run in the surrounding streets. A quick and dirty test of skills showed that I was ready for the test. On reaching the sign again at 8.40 AM, we saw that the sides of the road was already filling up with parked cars, with people parking for the test on either side of the road. Sneaking in at the number 3 position on the side of the sign, we hoped that the test would not take too long.
At 9 AM, a female employee came out and started checking everyone’s paperwork. Another guy did the same on the other side of the street. That task done, the lady examiner ran the inspection checks (blinker, tail light, hand brake) and then got into the first car. We saw her indicating to the driver to move. He was tentative, slowly crawling out of his parking space and it looked like he was afraid of the car, which had a bit of “back-bounce” to it. I presume it was the site of many a “hip-hop” video. They were back in 3 minutes and it was obvious that he had failed. oh no… on the other side the guy was taking drivers around and it was not obvious whether they were being passed or failed. Some seemed to be terrible drivers but it was unclear how they did on the test.
The lady examiner had reached car 2 and the testee did not seem to know the road signs… while the pre-test inspections were going on, the examiner got a call and what do you know, she took the call. that delayed that test by more than 10 minutes. The lady was not happy this morning. They finally took off and came back down the road in a couple of minutes. oh no, another fail? no, this time, they kept going.
It was getting hot in the car. Both the examiners were out testing. We had a 9 AM appointment, but it was already 9.30 and our turn had not come.
Finally, both the tested participants came back at the same time. That left me wondering – was it going to be the not-so-happy lady or was it going to be a slightly more affable guy. It was the guy. he came in, took my papers, checked my blinkers, horn, my brake light and reverse light. He got in and squeezed himself into the little subaru’s seat. He then proceeded to check the emergency brake and declared it all right. Testing time was a go!
I was asked to pull out and drive straight ahead. I did so, making exaggerated gestures to check blind spots and all the mirrors. hey, one can’t be sure. We went ahead and he asked me to turn right. I thought, “Hey! this route is familiar. Lex and I took this route for a dry run yesterday evening.”. Of course, i did not tell him that. He asked me to turn into a side street and pull up to the kerb. Decision time! in the last test i had hit the curb while pulling in. This time, easy-peasy. He then asked me to reverse without hitting the kerb. Again, i thought back to the last time. I did not look back once i had done about 10 feet, i only looked at the mirrors. No such mistake this time; the 50 ft of reverse flowed smoothly, like a hot knife through butter. “Pull out and follow the road”, he said. I did so, and as i turned the corner, a traffic snarl lay ahead of me. An ambulance on my side was facing off with two vehicles, and in the midst of it all an old man pushing a Target shopping card was making his way, in my direction. I slowed and stopped, and decided to let them sort out the mess, giving them enough space. Sure enough, they figured it out and i was able to proceed. As a wise man once said, “know when to proceed, and you shall win” (if the wise man did not say it, he should have, as it is a perfect fit for this situation). Moving on, i took two subsequent rights. What do you know, this was the exact course we went on last night, more by accident than anything else. As soon as I made the second right, he said “parallel park behind the car ahead”. oh no, the words of Doom – parallel park.
I sidled up, and closed my mind. Thinking back to Jim’s advice, i envisaged the move in me head…. the turn signal, oops, i hope he did not notice that.. i quickly indicated the turn as i was coming to a stop.. one and a half turns of the wheel , straightening out and one and a half turns back… it took 25 seconds… and it was perfect! perfect placement, perfect alignment, perfect execution… boom! We went ahead for a bit more but the rest was a blur… i pulled the perfect parallel park out of the hat, when it mattered the most.. thanks Jim!
we pulled up in front of the sign (my old friend), and I switched off the engine. He stamped my permit and asked me to expect the license in the mail. I wished him a good day, but he said, ” I want it to be good, but i work for the DMV”. hahaha!
We all know who is responsible for big victory, don’t we? It wasn’t me, it was the woman in the back seat, the silent sponsor, the one who suggested we do a dry run… so how about a hand, and a toast, to Lex!
Yes, Dee man now has a Class D License.. Can i use “Licensed to Dee” or is that taken?