Friday, April 24, 2009

Fail

Following the shameful tradition of the likes of Cher Horowitz, I just failed my first road test. Didn't hit anything, parked fine, three-point-turned fine, but apparently the seemingly basic tasks of making left and right turns at intersections are beyond what I'm capable of. Not 'apparently' - I knew this, but since I decided to take the test after taking half the recommended amount of lessons, and without being shall we say unusually talented at driving, I did kind of bring this upon myself.

What's frustrating about this is that here I am in my 1,000,000th year of school, so used to studying for tests, and here's one I can't study for! Each 'study session' is a lesson, which not only must be done at a location that's neither my apartment nor the library, with an instructor, but which costs... let's just say it will be a long time before I buy anything non-essential without heaps and heaps of guilt. And this driving school, or so says Yelp, is relatively inexpensive.

All that needs to happen is, I need to drive around the block, many, many times, which doesn't sound like it should be such a production. But does anyone I know in NYC have a car? It's looking like not. (To those who have offered to teach me to drive, but who either do not have cars or do not live in NYC, much appreciation, but lessons it is.)

13 comments:

PG said...

I'm a ZipCar person in NYC, but I might be able to get you driving lessons if you'd be willing to venture to Princeton, NJ. It's got to be easier to learn how to drive in the suburbs and then work up to city intersections. Do the driving instructors here have the rejiggered cars with a brake on the passenger side?

Paul Gowder said...

I'm afraid all I can offer is sympathy, but I do have plenty -- I failed my first driving test too, by running a stop sign. In LA!

PG said...

I avoided all such humiliations by getting my license in Texas, where no on the road test is required.

Paul Gowder said...

That partially explains Texas drivers.

Matt said...

Hmm, my recollection was that you were not allowed to stop, at least completely, at stop signs in California (hence the term "California stop".) I guess that's not an official thing, though.

What's wrong with making turns? Right ones, especially, I don't understand. (Left I can see if you have to decide if traffic is far enough away. That can be hard to judge.)

I got my driver's license when I was 14 so have been driving for well more than half of my life. Even though I don't do it regularly now (no car for many years) it's hard to remember what it would be like not being able to do it.

Phoebe said...

PG,

I'm intrigued, but I think the trip to Princeton alone costs the same as one driving lesson in Chinatown.

Paul Gowder (whose initials, in this context, can't be used),

Thanks for the sympathy!

Matt,

Imagine that you hadn't tried making a turn, left or right, until you were 25, and had, with the exception of some time spent in taxis, barely seen the inside of a car. It's like telling someone trying to learn as an adult a language you learned when very young that you don't understand what about that language might be so challenging.

Paul Gowder said...

Matt, if only the California Stop were legal. Its name comes, alas, from custom not law, and people have been known to get tickets for it.

(I ran the stop sign in a more egregious fashion than that anyway. When taking lessons, I had, for some reason, had odd trouble pulling over, I think related to judging the distance to the curb. For some reason, the examiner ordered me to pull over shortly after leaving the lot, and I was so surprised and alarmed that I pulled over right through the stop sign and into the intersection.)

Jeff said...

I can't help you pass this test - but I may have a contact that can make you a fake ID, eliminating the need to pass the test. That may be your best route.

Phoebe said...

No, I do actually want to learn how to drive, not to buy beer at the local convenience store.

Matt said...

I can well imagine learning to drive being hard. (At first I didn't know you only use one foot for both the brake and gas, I recall). I was (and am still) just unsure about what could be hard about a normal right hand turn. Is it not knowing how much to turn the wheel, and when to straighten out? I'm just curious about what's hard about it. (Learning to ride horses like that for me- you get them to move by doing things that didn't seem at all intuitive.) Do you ride a bike? The mechanism is different, of course, but the idea of turns on a bike isn't the much different from driving. If it were possible I would have suggested learning in a manual without power steering or breaks as I think you can "feel" the control of the car more clearly and have a better idea of how your moving it. Not that power steering and the like are not good- just that I think they don't make it easier to learn.

Phoebe said...

Matt,

I just... can't do it. Hearing that making a right turn is objectively easy doesn't make me feel better about it, and it certainly doesn't make doing so any easier. What will, I hope, is taking a bunch more lessons. (Granted I'm not so great at turning on a bike, either.)

Anonymous said...

Right hand turns take a while to master and not having a car to practice driving will draw things out. When I was learning to drive, I had a similar problem because my father was obsessive about his car. I stopped asking him to take me practice driving after some difficult moments on the road that ended in tears (mine not his). At some point, you will get the hang of slowing down just the right amount and turning the wheel just right. And right hand turns can be trickier than left because of the amount of space you are working with. Good luck. JM

Molika P. Ashford said...

Phoebe- I have a car. Unfortunately I don't have your acquaintance, which might make it awkward for us to drive together.

I do know you by name, blog, and probably bumping into you occasionally 'round Chicago back in the day...

I already circle the block frequently with a similarly unlicensed mid-20s boyfriend so I felt for you reading this post.

In any case, if you're interested in coming along and puttering round the slope in a Subaru with two near-strangers, let me know.