Monday, August 9, 2010

Facing the DMV at Forty

This is my second segment on turning forty. It’s right around the corner – that lovely birthday. I’ve blogged my concerns and gotten great advice on what it means to really be happy in my forty year old skin. I was buying all of that until…

Well, the DMV. Not anyone’s favorite place. My license needed renewing as did my 17 year old son’s. Since we had to be out of the house for several hours today, we decided to bite the bullet and head over to get them taken care of.

Kemper, my son, sailed in, and with the help of mom’s wallet was all set for his new license. However, they saw me coming. They said, “Yep, she’s turning forty! Senility starts setting in at that age – we’d better test her!” Ok, they didn’t say that, but it would make me feel a little better if they did. See… I didn’t know they were going to spring the sign identification test on me. Not that I shouldn’t know my street signs – I’ve been driving for 24 years now.

I sailed through the first set of signs. I’m thinking – I got this! Then, this sign appeared in the list:

Being an English teacher, I revved up to share a small narrative on what this sign means. “Well, let’s see, if I’m driving one way (the down arrow) and other traffic is going the other way (the up arrow) and there is a median, or bump, or divisor of some sort in the way, then we’ll go around it. Right?” Wrong. The DMV tester frowned in dismay and said – “It’s Divided Highway.” Isn’t that what I just said???

Next comes the tricky part – blank signs. I fail to see the logic in testing me on blank signs. Do they ever appear blank when I’m on the road? I think not. If you fill them in, I can tell you what they mean, but otherwise they are merely colored geometric shapes. I considered launching a protest, but that seemed silly.

The first one:

Ok, I got this – stop sign! Right!

Then came the tough ones…

Let’s see – there are usually people walking on this sign. A people crossing! Wrong. School crossing – apparently, I wasn’t specific enough.


Hmmm… Looks familiar… Ummm… I’m drawing a blank. Fail! It’s railroad crossing. Couldn’t they at least put an X in the middle of it?


To me – this is a baseball pennant. I had NO idea on this one. Fail! It means No Passing. Urgh… I thought that’s what those double yellow lines on the road were for. I get no bonus points for knowing that.

I’m dejected. I don’t fail tests. Worse yet, my son is standing behind me laughing. “Mom, you failed! Hahaha…” Argh! I have not heard the end of this.

The tester hands me a sheet, tells me to study and then I can “re-take” the test. As a teacher, I wanted to point out there was no validity to their test if they give me the answers and let me take it again immediately, but I thought now just wasn’t the time to get on that high horse. I passed round two with flying colors.

So, my license is coming in the mail. My first test as a forty year old and I failed. That stings!

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