In March he went to take his driving test. The first thing he had to do was parallel park. He failed the test as soon as his tire hit the curb. So about two weeks later we tried it again.
That time his parallel parking was spot on so he continued on with the exam. Across the parking lot, right turn onto the side street, right turn at the light onto the main road, right turn into the parking lot, and pull into a space. But as he was turning right onto the main road he followed the drivers in front of him into the left hand lane and he failed.
Two weeks later we tried it again. Third time’s a charm, right?? Wrong! This time his parallel parking was a thing of beauty. But supposedly when the instructor told him to pull out he backed up and hit the back barrel. Taylor swears he didn’t and as many times as he’d practiced the maneuver I’m a little skeptical myself. But whatever. Whether he did or didn’t wasn’t the point. The point was the instructor said he did and that’s all that counts. So once again – failed before he ever left the parking lot.
A week ago yesterday (Friday) we went back for his fourth try. I drove to the license center and pulled up to the familiar waiting area. As I was pulling up Taylor got all the paperwork ready, including getting my driver’s license out of my wallet. We switched places and the Hippy Instructor Guy (HIG)came walking up, requesting registration, insurance, Taylor’s permit and my license. Taylor handed him the registration, the insurance, his permit and — oh wait! He no longer had possession of my license. So we both get out of the car to look for it and HIG is looking on the ground; meanwhile cars start pulling up behind us for their tests. Finally I asked if we should just pull over and look for it so he can get on with the business of testing.
It was honestly ridiculous. Taylor had just had my license so we knew it had to be somewhere in the car. I started thinking I was going to have to replace my license when I eventually felt it way under the passenger seat. So we got back into line, bummed out that we were no longer the first but the fourth.
Finally the guy walks up, pleased we found my license, I go into the building and they go off to test. I couldn’t see where they test the parallel parking, but I watched them drive down the hill and through the parking lot instead of parking. Whew! He passed the parallel parking.
Ten minutes later or so they come walking in, both faces unreadable. This is the conversation:
HIG: How many times have you practiced parallel parking?
Taylor: More times than I can count.
HIG: Then why didn’t you use the turn signal when you were pulling in or out?
Taylor: (Face falling while my heart is sinking) I know I turned it on to park. I may have forgotten it when I pulled out though. (I think he should get props for being honest.)
HIG: You may have put the signal on to park and it clicked off when you turned the wheel, but you should have turned it back on.
Taylor: (Looking more and more dejected while I just wanted to cry) Maybe that’s what happened.
HIG: You did fine with the actual parking and you were good about using your signals while you were driving, but you really have to be diligent about using them when you’re parking.
Taylor: Yes, sir.
HIG: (To me) You do know what this means, Young Lady? (Okay. So I kind of liked that he called me young lady.)
Me: (Blank look.)
HIG: Your insurance is about to go up.
Me: (To Taylor while breaking into a huge grin) Do you get it?
Taylor: (Suddenly smiling) Yes.
HIG: Congratulations, son. You did a fine job. Just remember to use your signals all the time.
Whew! We were both so relieved. I honestly don’t know what either one of us would have done if he’d failed a fourth time. It doesn’t even bear thinking on!
Wednesday night he took the car to Student Leadership and then from there he drove to the church for band practice. I told him the tank was fairly low, gave him my gas card and told him to fill up. Todd drove Katie over to the church for band practice and then Taylor drove them both home.
Thursday morning I wrote the somewhat mushy post to commemorate his birthday, filled with warm fuzzies and nostalgia and all that tripe. Then I left for work in a car with NO GAS. No more warm fuzzies. No more nostalgia. Only tripe! I was seriously worried I wouldn’t make it to the gas station. Lucky for him: A)I made it to the station; B) it was his birthday; and C) he was at school and I couldn’t call him up for a butt chewing. So I guess he gets a mulligan.
For the most part I like this driving thing. My taxi schedule has been cut significantly and I am definitely okay with that. I just wish my taxi would come back washed and filled.