Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cruise Control

I have never been so wronged, for being so right. Just the other day, while driving on the highway an insane motorist honked at me for apparently getting in his way (I had to cross four lanes of traffic in about 600 feet) though my turn signal was on and I was letting everyone know where I was headed. He then passed me while giving me the dirtiest look possible; all this before HE committed the sin of all driving sins in this town, no signal.

Just so you know, I signal when changing lanes. Always. If I were totally conscious of it before moving here, I am vigilant about it now. It has become my pet peeve, my ball and chain, the sword in my side, so to speak. Apparently I am alone. What is so flippin' hard about flicking the thumb to let others know that you are changing positions/lanes/directions and avoiding a potentially lethal collision?

I've been avoiding transferring my DL here to NC. (Ok bloggers and readers, no turning me in now) I'm afraid if I do, something will happen to my left thumb and it will lose it's ability to hit the signal switch. If I officially drive in this town, will I become a non-signaler too? I just can't bare the thought...

Confession time. The real reason I haven't switched my DL yet is I'm also afraid of rejection and failure. That's right, I have serious issues with the DMV. Back in 96 when I moved to La, I went through the mind-numbing process of getting a current and legal DL in the wondrous city of New Orleans, with it's wonky streets (Charlotte decidedly wins that one hands down though - that's an entirely separate post, TBD) and its outdated, asinine Napoleonic code. In other words, they got their own set of rules that some butt-kissin', frenchy-lovin' bureacrat made up a couple of hundred years ago. In other words, all other known driving rules do not apply.

Anyhow, I take myself down to the DMV and discover I cannot "transfer" my licence from another country, I must start the process all over again with both a written and driving test. Keep in mind, I wasn't some green teen who'd only ever been in a car with an extra set of foot brakes and an instructor who needed a lot of breath mints...I had been driving for over 10 years at this point.

Needless to say, I wasn't really aware of the whole Napoleonic thing and didn't study too hard. To say I skimmed over the rules book would be generous. So, I failed. My husband (to-be at that point) was very supportive and even helped me study a little for the next round. After receiving my second rejection notice, hubby tried really hard not to laugh in front of me. Not because I failed mind you, because I was indignant, outraged and outright pissed. How could this be???

Round three nearly broke me. I failed again, this time missing by one point for not knowing how far from the end of the street to park. Let me tell you something about parking in NOLA; lots of times it's a free-for-all. Humpf. This time he never said a word as I crumpled up my results and tossed them in the garbage. I did go back and study, and studied hard.

With the written test over and done with, it was time to do the easy part, drive the car. At the time we were driving a gorgeous gas-guzzling, cream-colored, 72 Benz, with cream leather interior. It was a sweet ride, but temperamental, just like me. We hadn't the funds then to cherry it out and update it with proper seat belts so it just had the one belt across the lap. My poor driving instructor was rather large and the seat belt wouldn't fit across her girth. After yanking on it three or four times, she gave up and left it dangling on the side. I was so embarrassed, I didn't know what to do or say except apologize for having an old beater of a car. She didn't even look at me; just asked me to circle the block , scribbled on her notepad and muttered a "you pass" on her way out of the car. I had humiliated another human being just for a piece of paper.

So you see, I haven't been able to move on and get a new DL. Should I bite the bullet and study the law here, or just pay for an extra therapy session?