A few weeks before leaving for Spring Break, I went online and made an appointment at the DMV to get my learner’s permit.
In the days leading up to our trip to California I intended to study the driver’s manual but that didn’t really work so well. I looked over the manual for an hour or so (got through about 10 of the 90 some odd pages) and did some driver’s knowledge tutorial on the dmv website but that was about it.
So I left to California and didn’t really think about the driver’s test until Tuesday, the day before my appointment at the dmv. Joe’s mom had a stack of old tests that his littler brother had been practicing with so I did a few of those. His step dad also lent me his laptop so I could do some of the practice tests on Lodi traffic school’s website.While I passed all the practice tests I took I was still really worried that I’d fail. I couldn’t remember rules about turning, all the questions about parking on hills seemed totally foreign, and I hadn’t read through the entire driver’s manual which the DMV SPECIFICALLY SAID I SHOULD DO!!
I’m crazy, I know. I was nervous.
I woke up the next morning, ate some cereal, did some more practice questions, and then headed off to starbucks for some pre dmv coffee. After my caffeine fix we headed off to the dmv.
A few years ago I lost my social security card and had to make an appointment at the social security administration office in New Brunswick. I went with my mom and let me tell you, neither of us knew what we were in for. The place was dark and dingy and full of an interesting cast of characters. A lot of sketchy people. The place made me feel miserable – like I didn’t want to be there. Like I was in the underbelly of the bureaucracy. The DMV in Lodi gave me precisely this same feeling.There were a lot of odd looking people most of whom were slightly sketchy looking. One guy who passed by me totally reeked of pot. It was an interesting experience.
First off, and this is directed at you California, what is the point of making an appointment if I still have to wait in line?! And not just in line but in a line that stretched down the block. Argh! Then once I got to the desk to check in I still had to take a number and WAIT some more! After about 45 minutes my number was finally called and I was directed to one window. Then I had to wait in ANOTHER line to be given a copy of the exam – this took like 10 minutes.
Then there was the actual test. It was 36 questions and to pass I was allowed 6 or fewer errors. It took me about 15 minutes to get through all 36 questions. At the time I felt like there were 2 that I was really unsure of but I put down what I thought was the best answer. Overall, I didn’t walk away from the testing area feeling very good about my performance. Once I finished I got in line to turn in my test and started looking over the answers. The wait in line was about 10 minutes or so, so I went back to those two I was unsure of. While standing there waiting I decided to change the answers to those two questions. Finally it was my turn to get my test graded and I was petrified. Incredibly worried that I’d failed. Except, I didn’t fail. In fact, the ultimate result couldn’t have been further from failing.
See that nice round and wonderful 0!! I got every single question on the permit exam right!! wooo go me! I got to leave the DMV with a lovely little permit. Now I can drive this summer and schedule my driver’s test when I’m ready. Technically you don’t need to hold a permit for any amount of time before scheduling your test if you are over 18 but (1) I wanted to do get a permit just like everyone who learns to drive when they are a teenager, (2) should I decide to take lessons I need a permit to do that, and (3) the permit allows me to drive legally before I have a driver’s license as long as there is someone 25 or over in the car with me. Basically, I am protecting myself should I get pulled over while practicing.
Basic point – I am one step closer to driving! wooo