Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vroom vroom!

Today I passed my "pre-licensing test," which was a quiz given after a class, and by "class" I mean a series of videos from the 1970s about, among other things, not leaving the disco after too many pineapple cocktails and then getting behind the wheel. According to these informative tapes, a good number of women reach 50 without learning that yes, you can get drunk even if all you have are 'girly-drinks,' and that men as old as 40 think drinking coffee after alcohol cancels things out. That the examples given were of drivers who were on the older end of the spectrum (at least for behavior associated with reckless youth, not to mention ignorance about alcohol that most get past by 22 at the oldest) made me feel better about learning to drive at age 110.

Upon arrival, I didn't quite notice when the first driving video came on, replacing a Chinese variety show, because I was thinking an instructor was about to show, and the documentary about 1970s truck drivers was on in the mean time. There was no instructor. But there were a lot of interesting references in the videos to drivers as male, not in the gender-neutral, grammatical 'he'-as-he-or-she sense of male, but as in, learning how to fix your car will help get you chicks. Chicks with whom you can grow old and order pineapple cocktails for, but if you do so, you'd better not let them drive. I can't imagine driving, let alone drinking beforehand (the videos were clearly not addressing the Askenazically-toleranced among us), but I did enjoy the background disco music and the side-parted, slicked-down, or afro'd '70s hair.

The final tape brought us up to what appeared to be the 1980s, but a 'woman mechanic' mentioned something about a '90s woman knowing how to fix her own car, so I'm assuming this was either 1990 or the later '90s in an impressively fashion-backwards part of the country. One of the mechanics looked exactly like one of my distant relatives. Assuming the people in this video were not professional models (they didn't seem to be) I was struck by how much thinner 'ordinary' people were in 1990 (?) America than today. Long story short, I started to zone out when what could go wrong with every last thing under the hood (?) of a car was explained, as though the listener had some preexisting knowledge of what's inside a car. I mean, stuff? As I told Jo after the class, I needed a diagram, like what you get in high school biology before you dissect a frog. Looks like I'll do some learning on my own. But if the online reviews are correct, you go to this driving school for the lessons and despite the class. I'll be driving around a snowy Chinatown in no time!

2 comments:

Petey said...

"I was struck by how much thinner 'ordinary' people were in 1990"

The obesity epidemic really is oddly new. Blame it on substituting corn syrup for cane sugar in soda and/or the AIDS epidemic destroying the appeal of being sexually attractive and/or cable TV making staying at home enjoyable and/or cocaine going out of fashion.

"Long story short, I started to zone out when what could go wrong with every last thing under the hood (?) of a car was explained, as though the listener had some preexisting knowledge of what's inside a car. I mean, stuff? As I told Jo after the class, I needed a diagram, like what you get in high school biology before you dissect a frog."

If you are experiencing engine problems with your vehicle, just immerse the entire auto in warm soapy water to fix.

It's the same principle as what you do with a laptop computer that is malfunctioning.

Anonymous said...

I know next to nothing about my car's engine and other mechanical stuff and nowadays the engine is computerized, etc. I know how to fill the gas tank and check the air pressure in my tires (though I don't do it much), but other stuff is done by professionals. I'm surprised they bother with such a video, esp. as it is so dated. Good luck with your driving lessons. If I could learn, also at an older age when I was finally able to drive without anxiety, so can you. -- JM