Ugly Volvo Wednesdays


Chapter 3—Road Test: Part Duex

The day of my road test was warm and sunny.  There could have been a raging Tsunami outside, and I likely wouldn’t have noticed.  I was a nervous wreck.  My mother all but force-fed me breakfast, which was a total waste in the long run since my digestive system decided to go to “warp nine” that morning.  I was very nearly late thanks to the many, many “calls of nature” I had to endure before leaving the house.  Of all mornings, my body decided that was going to be the day I became a “regular girl”.

The ‘evil step-sister’ was on her best behavior that morning.  My drive to the road test office was near spiritual: I was one with the car!  My shifting was seamless, my acceleration, and speed were smooth and steady, and I was the car!  On the outside I was beyond cool, but on the inside I was a total spazz. As luck would have it, my examiner was young and drop-dead gorgeous.  This did not help my stress levels at all.  He was distractingly pretty, and he smelled good!  Stupid Hormones!

But like I said, on the outside I was cool, and spiritually one with the car.  So, my road test lumbered along with all the style and grace of a two hundred pound prima ballerina.  I was, technically, on point, but I wasn’t overly gracefully about it.  I passed my parallel parking, left turns, right turns, and yields.  Then, near the end of the test, I pulled up to a stop sign.  I stopped, shifted into first and looked to see if it was safe to proceed.  To my left there was a dump truck.  The dump truck moved forward (towards the stop sign) five feet, stopped, and then backed up five feet.  I waited a few more seconds, during that time the dump truck continued to do its little shuffle.  By its third ‘shuffle’ I deduced that it was indeed parking.  Sadly, that was the same time the truck decided it wasn’t parking, but rather, finally ready to act upon its inherent right of way and proceed through the intersection.  Fortunately for all parties, the dump truck stopped before colliding with us.  Thanks to that indecisive dump truck driver, I failed my road test. 

My examiner was so pretty, that I really couldn’t be angry with him, or challenge him in any way.  Deep down I was angry, but mostly with myself—really, why wasn’t I challenging this?  Who gave that stupid dump truck driver his license?  Jerk!  I told my dad my side of the story.  My dad, in a precedent moment, saw my side and took pity on me and the injustice of it all.  He encouraged me to make another appointment for a road test, in another office—an office where the examiners were older, and preferably a little ugly.

The drive home was surreal.  Everything I did was subject to great praise and encouragement by my dad.  It was the absolute opposite of any other driving experience I had ever had with him.  My dad transferred all of his rage and condemnation to the examiner and that stupid dump truck driver instead.  He had not a single kind word for either of them.  I suspected, if he could, he would have found a way to blame them both for the demise of her power steering hose.  My dad’s commitment to redeeming my driving self-esteem was renewed and absolute.  Nobody, not nobody, was going to stop his little girl from becoming a licensed driver.

Approximately two weeks later, I was on my way to road test number two.  I used up all my nervous energy on the day of my first test.  I channelled my rage into icy, focused determination. I was stone-cold and fierce.  It was the first time in my life where I really, truly, and whole-heartedly embodied the whole “if you are not here to help, get the fuck out of my way” attitude.  Now that I think back, I realize I was probably just a little scary in that psychotic ‘hello Clarice’ kind of way.

It was a dead-dog, smokin’ hot, kind of day.  Thinking about going outside could cause an iceberg to break a sweat.  I did not notice the heat in any way other than the purest academic sense.  My icy determination permeated through to my very core essence. Also, my dad’s car had air conditioning so intense it could cause frost bite. 

When I met my examiner I was pleasantly surprised at how opposite he was to the last examiner.  He was older than my dad, balding, fat, and neither cute nor overly nice.  In fact, he was downright surly.  He hated the heat like most people hated the cold of winter.  On our way out to the car, he growled and grumbled about the heat.  The emerging flirt in me seemed to bubble to the surface just then.  I giggled, tossed my hair and said, “the car has really good air conditioning—tee hee”.  My examiner grunted and climbed into the car.  He barked, “then turn on this air conditioning then!”

Had this been my first road test, I probably would have shit myself.  However, I was in “Terminator” mode and there was nothing getting in the way of my acing this exam.  I cranked the air conditioning so high that I figured we would probably have to defrost this fat, bald, examiner by the time I was done with him!   The examiner basked in the shrill blast of the air conditioner and he was as close to giggling like a little girl as a fat bald guy could get.   As we drove on, he started getting chatty—telling me about the history of certain landmarks, and sharing with me his personal frustration with how road rules are misapplied to cyclists.  At some point, though, he went from chatty to full on instructive. 


Deep down I started to panic.  I had heard that once the examiners start assisting you that it was an automatic fail.  However, despite the instruction, we did not seem to be in any hurry to head back to the office.  I began to wonder if he was pitied me so much that he was trying to desperately to squeak out a few marks for me.  Then it dawned on me: he was prolonging the test just to bask in the air conditioning!  I then realized, in a demi-whore like way, that he was going to pass me for the sheer reason of air conditioning—I also realized that I was okay with that!

 My Dad was so proud, or relieved, that he took me out for ice cream to celebrate the road test victory.  He hung on my every word as I recounted every event of the road test.  He was bursting with pride, after all, it wasn’t everyday he got to show off his stellar car, and her air conditioning to a perfect stranger. 


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