Learning to Drive

Well, not really learning to drive, but rather learning to pass the driving test.

If you are a grown up who has been driving for years but discovers that you actually need to take a road test, come see me. I’ve been tested on two continents in the last 4 years and passed both with flying colours! /toots horn, throws confetti

One of my least favourite parts about moving is dealing with all the government paperwork. Driving tests pretty much top that list. Either those, or going to the embassy to re-new yet another passport…

Anyway, last week, I decided that since I am from Michigan, and since the state of Michigan deemed it prudent at one point many moons ago to license me to drive, that maybe I should try and re-establish myself here – it might be easier, right? Well….not exactly, but I do think I made the right choice. I went in on Thursday last week carrying every single piece of ID possible: social security card, passport, birth certificate, marriage license, (half of) my English driving license, voter registration card, bank statement, and even my two kids (they call me mommy, that’s ID, right?) in the hopes that I could simply fill out some paperwork and be on my merry way. Not so much. Turns out I actually didn’t have my social security card with me so I had to drive home (following the speed limit and all the road rules…ahem) and turn around and drive back in hopes that I wouldn’t lose my place in line. Well, I just missed my number, but the Secretary of State (henceforth referred to as SOS) was kind enough to give me a return pass so I didn’t have to wait: Score!

After all that, I talked to a very kind lady and showed her my plethora of IDs only to have her go and confer ‘in the back room’ for probably 20 minutes. Eventually it was established that I was currently licensed to drive in Britain, but frankly who cares, and was I prepared to take a test today? Uh…ok. So, I took the written test – I missed 5, but you’re allowed to miss 10, so I passed! Score!

If you’re keeping score, so far I’m up by two.

As we get all the test paperwork sorted and my eye test done, I think I’m in and I’m about to be granted my license, but wait…lovely Latasha comes out with “So, when were you going to take your driving test?” Score one for the SOS. Damn.

Turns out that England is not a reciprocal country; however, had I been licensed in Canada, Germany or South Korea, I could’ve skipped all the tests. South Korea. Really?

Anyway, I was given a list of places to call to book my test, which I promptly did. Over the next three days I proceeded to become more and more nervous about it, going so far as to read the .pdf document over and over online, making sure I remembered how to drive, and even practicing some of the maneuvers.

Well, Sunday rolled around, and I nervously headed over to the test site. The tester was a gregarious and friendly woman named Glenda. (score one for me, maybe?) She was professional and efficient. I did the first part of the test, which was parking. I managed to perform the first two maneuvers perfectly (um, pulling forward, and going backward at a 90 degree angle), then came the dreaded parallel parking. Ugh. I just missed the mark and it cost me three points – if you get six points you fail! *cue freaked out face here*

Anyway, I didn’t fail and went on to perform the driving portion of the test perfectly. Glenda was pleased to have someone in the car who could actually drive, and since I was driving my step-dad’s Cadillac, she was also very pleased to ride in comfort. Score two for me.

After successfully completing all my testing, I went in to the SOS on Monday to get the paperwork out of the way, and the system was down. Score one SOS.

I didn’t give up though. I went back at 4:30 that afternoon – with my return (cut the line) pass – and I am now very pleased to report that I am officially licensed to drive in the State of Michigan (again).  Score!

So, all in all, I believe that’s 5 points for me, and only 2 for the SOS. Awesome.

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