Open Thread

Flashback OT: The Humiliation of 1990

This week, a friend’s son got his driver’s license – on the second try. Hearing that he didn’t pass the first time brought me back to an afternoon in 1990 that I will never forget. My stomach still turns a little when I think about it. It, of course, if you haven’t guessed, was the afternoon that my 16.5-year-old self didn’t pass my own driver’s exam.

I drove with the examiner through our sleepy Indiana town. Since we lived outside the city limits, I wasn’t familiar with the route that I’m sure 95% of my friends drove during their rite of passage. I wasn’t familiar with the side streets, or the fact that there were stop signs at the end of every blessed block. My recollection was that there was a little road construction on a particular street, and as I was careful to drive past it with caution, I missed the stop sign at the end of the zone.

He didn’t say anything until we got back to the license branch – it was then that he casually said that I’d failed and that I’d missed one stop sign.

Oh the flailing and wailing that followed. I had to wait about six weeks to take the test again, which of course, seemed to be the longest six weeks EVER.

How did your first driver’s test go, Persephoneers? What major injustice was served to you at the tender age of 16? You can tell me! Or, as always, feel free to hijack this Open Thread for your own purposes.

181 replies on “Flashback OT: The Humiliation of 1990”

Dilemma: I want to buy Girl Scout Cookies. But what kind? And should I buy them at all, given that I am trying to lose all the weight that I have gained over the past few months by eating too many cookies and not exercising and being stressed and not sleeping?

Um, and has anyone tried any of the lemon ones? I’m intrigued.

This is such a great idea. Nothing says “I value you” like Girl Scout cookies, knowing that those suckers survived months in the giver’s possession without being eaten.

Maybe I’ll get Thin Mints for this purpose, ’cause I don’t really like them, but everyone else does!

My recourse against overindulging is to pre-portion out my food using many ziplock bags (that I reuse to avoid being a complete asshole to the environment) into sizes that I like for snacking* so that I don’t absentmindedly eat the whole box in one sitting. It makes me aware of how much I’m eating without forcing me to give up foods I like or be supper county about calories or what have you.. But if you want cookies, then have some cookies. I have never found denying myself an acceptable way to eat.

And both the Savannah Smiles and the Lemonades are yummy.

*As determined by me. Not the numbers on the box that say two cookies is a snack.

There are two different lemon cookies — I’m assuming you mean the diet cookies? They’ve got a little bit of powdered sugar on them? They’re fantastic. I love them. They don’t taste aspertine-y and they’re amazing with a nice cup of tea. I’m really excited they’re back this year.

When I took my driving test (in NC) my examiner was this crotchety old lady who yelled at everything from passing leave and squirrels to other cars, which obviously made me nervous.  Then she proceeding to make hugely offensive racist comments about black people and hispanic people.  I was so shocked I rolled through a stop sign and had to reverse it in the middle of the street, out of traffic.  I drove back to the DMV, jaw-agape, knowing I had failed (but kind of being okay with it.  what the fuck, lady?) only to find out she passed me. “Oh, I know  you know what a stop sign is for, sweetheart.  You’re fine.”

mixed feelings.

I passed on the first try, though I thought for sure I had failed. Both of my parents had stick shifts at the time, so I was fairly versed in dealing with a clutch.  At the beginning of the test though, I had to pull into this parking area so the instructor could inspect the car. The parking spot was on a hill angled down toward the DMV, so that when I needed to back out, I was going to be going up hill in reverse. I stalled the car 3 times before revving the crap out of the engine to get us up the hill. Five minutes into the test and I was sure I failed, but onward we went. I missed a turn, so we didn’t have time to do the curb parking test (no parallel, just pull up next to it). We get back to the DMV, pull into the same horrible sloped parking spot, and the instructor says “Well, I’m sorry, but you won’t be able to drive your friends to school tomorrow.” I just sat there, crushed, until he followed up with “because tomorrow is Saturday. You can drive them on Monday.” Mean mean mean DMV guy!!!!

We have graduated licensing in Ontario. (G1 written test, g1 road test, g2 road test, g test). It’s rather ridiculous, especuially considering how many terrible drivers there are out there.

I passed the written test with flying colors.

First time I had been practicing with a driving school. Failed.

Second time it was a couple years later and I had been practicing with my boyfriend. Passed.

Then, I attempted for my G2. Lots more practice with the boyfriend.

First time I failed because of absolutely nothing. Not even kidding. I did everything right (all the way until the end of the test) and she failed me anyway. She was an asshole.

Second time I passed.

I’m due to take my final test at the end of the month (I’m 26!)…because my license expires soon. I haven’t been practicing at all. But the boyfriend said he would take me out to practice again, and I trust him. Here’s hoping I don’t get some wretched asshole marking me.

Just need to vent about something totally stupid. My stepfather died three years ago. There’s all kinds of f’ery with his death but that’s another level of rage. A bank became executor of his estate and stuff started getting screwed up. After about a year, they figured out (upon my constant pushing, that is) that my mother’s Will had been messed up (she died before he did, and I never saw her Will) and that the money in his trust was mostly supposed to be put back into hers. They had the lawyer who’d done both of their Wills take over getting the estates re-opened or whatever to get it put back into her trust (because then it was supposed to go to me, whereas my stepfather’s trust also had some of his nieces/nephews in it). Well, for over a year, I couldn’t get an update, and because the bank figured it was an issue they refused to pay me the distributions I was entitled to in the meantime. I told them they needed to have either a court order or give me the money, because I had a lot of financial hardships at the time (not to mention the emotional toll and stress this causes me, even affecting my health). Eventually they just stopped responding to me. I needed to get a copy of my stepfather’s Will so I looked up the lawyer and he DIED back in October. I am just so rage-full over all of this. The bank takes out fees every month for doing NOTHING, they sold our family house even after I’d said I wanted it (and that was supposed to have been my right), they’ve lost tens of thousands of dollars by messing up sales (using the wrong blue book value for a car that I also had wanted), lost all of the items in the home… and it feels so petty in part because it’s money and eventually I’ll have a lot of coin once this gets resolved but it’s also, well, integrity, and principle. I never would have found out that the guy died if I hadn’t looked it up. I’m probably going to have to hire a lawyer (with what money?) and sue the bank to gain control of the estate. I just want to hit all the (inanimate) things right now.

That sucks.

My step grandma had PoA over her common law husband. But right before he died, one of the neighbors turned her over to county Mental Health, and because of her history of Schizophrenia, they took her and held her. When her CLH died, the Aging people from the state petitioned to gain control of the estate, and won because she was in the hospital.

My parents went down after that, and got her out of there. Apparently the hospital was terrible, of the sort that my mother, seasoned MH advo veteran, was disturbed. Don’t get hospitalized or imprisoned in Allegheny County, PA. FYI. Between that place and the medical neglect issues that have ranked the jail in the county a death trap, it wouldn’t end well.

Any how, they went to try and contest the decision, but of course AoA (Agency on Aging) stomped it out, so all they could do was try and go through the house she had shared for 20 ish years with the guy and point out which things were hers.

THEY REJECTED THE MAJORITY OF HER LIST. They used her Dx to say that she was lying about her own property, including a bunch of antique dolls that had been her sister’s. Seriously? You really think the elderly man whose common law wife was essentially a full time care taker for was the one with the massive doll collection? Needless to say, she was not happy. The only things they accepted were hers were the low price items- an old broken bed frame, a cupboard, some small knick-knacks.

They then auctioned off everything in the house. She watched as her things were sold to strangers, all in the name of her MH. Horrible.

Oh that’s horrible! My stepfather’s mother suffered from schizophrenia, so when her husband died my stepfather protected her and her assets; most are not so fortunate. It just never ceases to amaze me how much people can get away with without consequence on these things. Greed and taking advantage of MH, it’s just sickening.

Since my stepfather’s death certificate took over two months to process, I had no legal ability to access our family home; in the meantime, the woman he was with took his trucks and moved everything out of the house less than a week after he died. None of the stuff was hers. She banged up the vehicles and didn’t return them for over a month. She had the body cremated less than 24 hours after he died so no autopsy could be performed. She still has the remains. This woman knew him less than two years and messed up his obituary. He deserved better. The bank doesn’t want to deal with it because, well, where’s the profit in that? I think the moral here is essentially don’t die.

It took me three tries to get my license, and it wasn’t until the week before my 18th birthday that I finally passed.

The first time, I was probably about 17, having just finished drivers ed. My dad took me in his car, and we were filling out the paperwork, etc. when the guy noticed that my dad’s inspection was like 3 days overdue. So he wouldn’t let me take the test.

The second time was a few months later. I had signed up to take my test in the next county because I heard it was a lot easier, and I was totally chicken. But when we were leaving, I handed my dad the directions, and he put them down on the counter and left them, so we got lost. We ended up being like 30 minutes late, and didn’t know exactly where we were supposed to be anyway, so needless to say, this was also a failed attempt.

The third time was the end of my senior year ( I’d waited until after winter, because I refused to take the test in the middle of winter in upstate NY). While I was continuously putting it off, my younger brother signed up for his test. He was a horrible driver, so I couldn’t let him get his license before me. He had taken the first spot of the day though, so I had to sign up for the time right after him. I really didn’t think he was going to pass, but sure enough, he did. And all my anxiety went out the door with that thumbs up he gave my dad and me when he stepped out of the car – if that knucklehead could pass, then I’d be fine. And I was.

I had a horrible instructor and dreadful examiner the first time ’round, so I failed. (Instructor cursed at me, examiner didn’t seem to care).

Second time around I had a nice lady that told me to ignore her questions if I needed my concentration, told that we didn’t have to take my instructor along and that we would just ‘ride around a little’. I almost forgot I was going up for my license, it was so relaxed.

I passed my driver’s exam on the first try, but barely. The driving part went fine, but it was the written part that went wrong. I remember we were allowed to miss up to five questions and still pass, and that’s exactly how much I missed. I remember that on four of the questions I missed, I was obviously over-thinking it and thought, “Well, ok, I actually knew that, so it’s ok!” But there was one that was something like this:

While driving at night on the highway with your brights on, you see another car coming toward you from the opposite direction. How far away should you switch off your brights?
a) 10 meters
b) 50 meters
c) 100 meters
d) 45730543056 meters

Not only did we never talk about that in driver’s ed, but meters? METERS? How the hell am I, a young American teenager, supposed to visualize meters? It’s like three feet, right? But then, what the hell, what does 300 feet away even look like? I was soooooo pissed at that question, and all I remember learning from getting it wrong is that the correct answer is whatever option was the furthest away. I don’t know how far, so now whenever I see a car coming, I turn my brights off the moment I can even see the other car on the horizon, and it’s always waaaaaaay before they turn theirs off, but … oh well, I guess.

Of all my friends, I was the only one to pass on the first try, which felt amazing because I had some real asshole friends at 16 who gave me shit all the time for being blonde because, duh, blondes are totally stupid! I remember also relishing in the fact that I got the highest ACT score of us all just a year or so later. Needless to say, I didn’t keep in contact with those jerks past high school.

Why, oh why, is the U.S. so narcissistic about not teaching the metric system? I feel so inferior to people from other countries because I am a grown person and I still cannot tell you what a centimeter, meter, demeter or spectrometer is.* We’ve got effing Dewey Decimal, but we can’t learn a centimeter.

*Some of these might not have to do with the metric system.

I failed my driver’s test when I was 22. I had even had passed it already, but from another state, and my license expired so I had to start over.

I just remember being unreasonably nervous, and the instructor insisted on having the window open and the air conditioning on full blast. I drove too fast in a residential zone. Derp. But it was downhill, and I wasn’t going to be one of those people who keeps their brakes on while they go down a hill. Not even for a test. It’s a pain in the ass.

I took it again a few days later at a town in the middle of nowhere, since it was the only place I could get an appointment within a three-month time span, and was even more nervous. I got in trouble for the way I did a three-point turnaround, because if there had been a car behind me, I would have hit them. If there had been a car behind me, I wouldn’t have done it that way, lady. Cripes. But she passed me anyway.

We have graduated licensing in my province, so I’ve taken 3 tests to get my license- one written, two practical. I had to take my G2 test 3 times, the one I needed to finally be able to drive by myself. The first two times were at the only Ministry of Transportation office in the region where EVERYBODY goes, and everyone hates their job, so it was not a pleasant experience. Despite the obvious way in which my tester hated his job, I still managed to screw up by forgetting how to turn left.

Yeah, I was that crazy seventeen-year-old who screams out into the intersection and makes the left before the right-of-way traffic begins. Automatic fail. The second time was much later and I managed to fail that by being in my mother’s huge, heavy, inertia-loving minivan instead of the little car I’d been taking lessons in.

The third time? I went to North York, where there are no one-way streets and no mixed residential and commercial zoning. Absolute cinch. I apparently only passed my G test a couple of years ago by a hair… but I think I’m a good driver!

I had to retake my road tests to get my G2 and to get my G. My biggest challenge was that my parents’ car at the time was a decrepit old standard which I could never get the hang of. The only practice I could get was with my grandparents’ car. In the end I made it, though, and I’ve been driving ever since!

I don’t hold the plank for 20 minutes – lord almighty!

It’s a rotation thing that starts with a plank, then pushups then burpies then back to pushups and plank. Repeat. It’s hard.

But I did the stairmaster and it was wonderful. A really good sweat. I’ll sleep well. :)

Planks will be tomorrow. :)

I’m going to bed with my last thoughts being of menopause. So maybe I’ll dream about it.

To research tomorrow: can one get menopause to happen 20 years early by clenching tightly?

I can arch my back until my head touches my feet. Hurt my neck this one time when my ponytail got trapped by my shoe.

I can also tap out S O S in Morse code. And recite pi to 3 places.

Really, I think my towels are shortchanging me with their pathetic little lifespans. What is a normal age for towels to die at? Mine are fraying, have thinned patches, and a couple of them have holes. They are now only presentable to my slobbiest friends, such as Drew.

My mother has towels that are older than me, so they are roughly 40 years old. I’m not saying they look good or “towel” effectively, but she tends to hoard a bit. I’ve had towels that start to look rough (edges fraying) at under 15 years old. I think it depends on the quality, and probably how often you wash them. (Previous sentence was just entered for a prize in “Obvious Statements of the Year Awards”.) I have a decent(?) amount of towels for one person, so I have to do washload of towels only about once a month. Also, I don’t use a new towel each time I shower. Stop looking at me that way. You can use a towel more than once, princess. I guess once they start looking bad, keep them for washing the car only or donate them to the local no-kill animal shelter. They always need towels.

One time toweling between washes is wack. The only excuses for doing that regularly are being a mutant whose superpowers include toxic or nutrient-dense skin slime, or being an evil mutant crime lord who lives in a hotel. Or like eczema or some other boring medical condition that doesn’t come with a cape.

Your and your family’s towels are much longer lived than mine. Mine are about a decade old, and I generally wash them once a week. They’re very midrange towels. I blame my washing machine in part, because it is mean and bad.

I continued musing about your towel issue all night b/c I have nothing better to do. Not really. I have eczema, but it’s extremely mild now and flares up only very occasionally. I use an environmentally safe not-rubbed-in-bunnies’-eyes liquid detergent (Seventh Generation) and I use as little as possible, but I am pretty sure my mother uses Die, Detergent, Die! b/c she is not quite the environmental nutjobber I am. She does hang her laundry outside on the line to dry (except for her and my dad’s unmentionables). I live in a condo, so there’s no line-drying for me, plus I’m lazy.

This was my completely non-scientific analysis of the day, and it led to no answers. You are welcome.

I barely passed my first driver’s test.  I got the max points taken off for parking (I didnt know how to parallel..) and then I got 21 points off out of a max of 25.  I was actually a pretty good driver at 16, I was just nervous as hell and couldn’t think and I was acting all spastic-y.

I’m 23 and I’ve never had my license. I’m am ridiculously phobic of driving, and I have crippling panic attacks when I try. I got my permit when I was 18, drove for about two weeks, and then, after one bad experience with my mom screaming at me and stressing me out while I was behind the wheel, I stopped driving. I went to college in a city where it is just a hassle to have a car, so I just never learned. I temporarily moved back to my hometown a few months ago with two goals– to save some money and to get my license. Neither is going well. I have my permit again and am taking driving lessons, but the panic attacks are FAR worse than the first time I tried to drive. It literally feels like I’m having a heart attack. I shake and sweat profusely, I can’t breathe, and my arm, leg, and neck muscles remain cramped up for days afterwards (which makes it difficult at work, as I teach dance). I really want to do it, though. I don’t even know why I’m so terrified. It is so hard.

I haven’t, because as far as everything else goes I’m a pretty calm person. I’ve never had panic attacks before, either (except that one time when I was driving with my mom when I was 18). I literally had no idea that I was that bad about driving until a few weeks ago, when I started the driving lessons. I’m kinda weird about taking medication, but I I wouldn’t rule it out completely, I guess.

I relate to this a lot. I was in a really serious motor vehicle accident (I was actually run over on a bicycle by a truck) when I was 12, and I waited till I turned twenty to get my licence just because the anxiety I felt around the weight of responsibility of driving was totally crippling. For me, the big difference was tons of practice in non-threatening situations with my Dad. We drove around my parent’s neighbourhood almost every evening for months. If you have someone to practice with, even for 10 minutes a day that may really help. Best wishes! I know how difficult it can be but I believe you can do it! (I never thought I would get mine either).

Thank you. Yikes, I can totally see why you would be anxious. Glad you’re okay! I don’t know where my anxiety comes from. I wasn’t ever in an accident (well, one fender bender, but nothing serious or scary). My problem is that my mom is the only one that could take me driving on a daily basis, and I won’t drive with her anymore because she is sooo high-strung (and I think she’s part of the reason I’m so freaked out). I have driving lessons once a week, but I would like to practice more. I might see if my sister or my aunt would be willing to drive with me sometime.

After learning to drive on a small sedan, I somehow ended up taking my test in a huge Chevy truck. My parallel parking attempt was tragic. To add insult to injury, I actually had to reverse going back into the DMV parking lot because I completely overshot the turn. I was so painfully embarrassed that I burst into tears. Against all odds, the guy passed me. I’m saying he passed me, because I swear there is no way I passed that test on my own merits.

I had no idea that they carried that much fuel. I was confused at first and thought he ran into a truck carrying nothing but fuel then I went to and watched the video and…holy crap! If it was always this exciting, I’d be more interested. (I like cars but I’d rather watch drag racing.)

Well, now we know what happens if they make a right turn…

Right? I mean what are the odds that his car would malfunction at just that moment, totally miss the truck behind the one carrying the dryer, and that he’d just get out and walk away from it.

I’ve already seen like 3 different memes come out of this – several “right turn” jokes, a few Formula 1 jokes, and one “not a single fuck given” image.

My test guy wore a pony tail, a Hawaiian shirt and called me “Brittany” the entire time. Brittany is not my name.

I passed with 100% but let me tell you. It was damn easy. Even parking. I had to pull up to a curb that had NO OTHER CARS and just get next to it. No parallel parking, no specific distance from another car. Just me, pulling up along side a long stretch of open curb. Glorious.

I missed one question in the written and I remember it was about driving in the rain. But it was really just because I disagreed with the choices. Driving in the rain is commonplace out here. No one changes their speed, their distance between cars. Well, no one who grew up here. New residents stand out like sore thumbs.

But yeah, I totally think the tester gave me sympathy points because of the name thing. I wasn’t going to correct him!

I drove home that day with one hand on the wheel – my mom said that I “must feel like hot stuff right now.” Yes, yes I did. :)

I got my license on the first try with no issues, it’s my first driving lesson with the instructor that’s the interesting (cough traumatizing cough) story.

It was a boy in my year, the male instructor and I in the car. I had driven once before. In a parking lot. Going 3mph, max. With the instructor, who was a very angry man and obviously hated his job, we did about an hour of the first six-hour lesson in a large, high school parking lot. 10mph max, on a weekend, so no other cars. So far, so good. Then, while I’m behind the wheel, the instructor tells me to go out onto the main road and make a right turn at the stop light. Said road I’m turning onto is highly trafficked, with a speed limit of 50mph. I was petrified. I get up to the stoplight and pull out a bit, waiting for the light to change so I can turn on green. The instructor barks “why aren’t you going? I told you to go right! Turn!” . I stammer something along the lines of “waiting for the light to change” and keep watching the cars whizzing by. He gets upset, and starts yelling “Turn! Go! Go!” . So I crank the wheel over and hit the gas. Problem? I had cranked the wheel too far, so the car bounced up, passenger side front wheel on the curb. I lose my head completely and, panicking, try to hit the brake, only to miss, and hit the gas again instead. The car goes straight up the curb, the side riding up on a fire hydrant. I’m yelling “sorry! sorry! I’m so sorry!” he’s yelling “stop! stop!” and the boy in the back is (I’m assuming) frozen in horror, watching his life flash before his eyes. The instructor finally hits the brake on his side of the car (driver’s education cars have brakes on the instructor’s side, why he hadn’t used it earlier is beyond me), and the car comes to rest with the fire hydrant embedded in the passenger side door.

By this time I have tears pouring down my face and am shaking uncontrollably. The instructor barks at me to get out of the car, so he can slide over to the drivers’ side and get out (he couldn’t open his door). He then calls 911 and two fire trucks and a police car arrive to pull the car off of the hydrant, which was totally unaffected by my collision with it. The car had a red gash in the side. I had to go sit in the police car and explain to the very kind policeman what happened while hiccuping and sobbing intermittently. The instructor prohibited me from calling my parents.

After about an hour, the emergency crews leave and the instructor tells me to get back in the car and drive. I incredulous, but got back in and made it for about a mile before I had to pull over, shaking, and tell him that I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t drive for the rest of the lesson.

The best part? When we got back to the parental pick-up location, the first thing my parents ask, jokingly, is, “So. Did you hit anything?”

Man were they surprised when I burst into tears.


You weren’t allowed to call your parents?!!!
I would have been very angry at the instructor, in addition to being traumatized by the crash!

My instructor was a gruff old man who told us to do lots of things. But at the beginning of the class, he said that if we weren’t comfortable doing something, we should wait until we are, even if he is saying it is ok to go. There were many times I waited a long while before pulling out (we didn’t have any stop lights to wait at) so I could be sure there was enough room. He just sat there saying in a very calm voice, ‘ you can go now’ ‘or now’ ‘or now’ until I finally would pull out.

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