Friday, October 28, 2011
A little bruised
Finding it hard to smile this morning, so when I saw the lovely comments from new visitors - about my last post - it made me smile. Cheered me up more than anyone could know. So, thank you.
Why so glum this morning? I fucked up my driving test. Yay me.
Everyone has their Achilles' heel, and mine would appear to be tests - no matter what they're for. So many of the exams I had to take in school and university resulted in temporary chunks of memory loss, where words and names danced on the tip of my tongue without fulling revealing themselves, until after the exam was over. I was one of those students whose true capabilities were only clear with ongoing assessment tasks, rather than exams.
Driving tests have kind of been the same. When I was eighteen and did my first driving test, my nerves got the better of me. Going down a hill in a 60 km/h zone, I went slightly over the limit. Oops. My driving teacher knew all the local testers, and when he saw who had tested me, he reassured me that this particular tester was notorious for failing most people on their first test, and that next time, odds were someone different would test me and I'd be fine. I felt a little better, then two weeks later... same tester. Thankfully, I showed him. Pride can be a pretty powerful motivator.
These experiences have been a huge factor in why I kept putting off going for my test here in LA. Having an Australian licence isn't enough, and the Californian DMV makes everybody do the driving test to get a Californian licence, even people who have only moved interstate. Technically, once a person becomes a Californian resident, they are supposed to get their licence within ten days - unless they happen to hold an international diplomatic drivers' licence. Which would be rather convenient, right?
I've been a Californian resident for nineteen months now. Oops. I have my work permit. I have my Social Security number. I even got around to taking the written drivers test back in July, which I actually passed first go.
(When I took my Australian 'knowledge' test, it was on computer. Instead of being referred to as 'the written test', it was referred to as 'the computer test'. Because it was on computer. Duh. Back in 1993. The written test at the Californian DMV I went to? Pencil on paper, with a real live human being to mark it in my presence. It's 2011 now - they might want to have a look at what technology is available these days. Just sayin'.)
So, with our current visas up for renewal in a few months, J pointed out to me the other day that I should take the test soon, before we have a mountain more of paperwork which could hinder the process. I could put it off no more.
And I fucked it up. Not monumentally, but my nerves got the better of me. Surprising, right? Little things here and there, which in general are not an issue. Today, they were.
My ego has taken a bit of a bruising, because I know I'm a better driver than what I was this morning. If I thought I wasn't a decent driver, I would not be getting behind the wheel - most days - with my treasured girls in the back seat.
Hell, I know I'm a better driver than many of the drivers here who seem to frequently ignore that thing called an indicator. I don't cut people off, which also seems to be an accepted practice. Bitter, moi?
But I have no one to blame this morning except myself. I am mad as hell at myself, and embarrassed. I had no intention of even writing about this, but then I realised I always feel better when I've had a verbal or written vomit, which is kind of where blogging comes in handy.
Until today, I was feeling pretty good in general about how far I've come with my driving here. Okay, so I still avoid freeways, but I was a less than confident driver when we moved here, and the thought of driving on the opposite side of the road filled me with terror until reality of life in LA stepped in. I didn't want to be stuck at home all day, every day, and LA is such a sprawl that to get just basic errands done, a car is pretty much a necessity.
That drive-test horse shall be ridden again, soon (I've already made my next appointment). Stay tuned.
For now, I'm going to have a small pity party. Just for today. I shall blame PMS, and I shall pity myself in style.