I’m back. It was a spring where I got tired of whining and complaining, but summer is now in full bloom, trips coming up and fun in the sun to be had. Before any of that could happen I had one major issue hanging over my head that had to be addressed.
My driver’s license.
Months back I posted pics and details about how I still drive, even with my legs basically useless to me anymore (long story but yes this year they have got worse…no whining in this one though), but I glossed over one major detail. Despite the fact that I had been driving with the hand controls for almost four years, the government had never got around to actually sending me the notice indicating I needed to be retested for them.
I didn’t hide it. Every medical professional I met with was informed I had them. For some reason, the paperwork never went through…until about midway through June this year. Finally, I got the notice that I would need to be retested for my license due to “changes in my medical condition.” I only had a few weeks in which to do a vision test, the written test and then a full on driving test before my license would be suspended. Yikes!
So with huge thanks to Remo Minichiello and his company Drive Again, I got the latest version of the study book, found some online practice tests and began a quickie refresher. Remo mentioned to me that if everyone on the road were to be forced to do these tests today, probably 70% of drivers would fail. Don’t you doubt that for one minute. I know full well that a lot of the written knowledge I had done in my test, 20 odd years ago, was long forgotten. How many demerit points before you are called in for an interview? How many metres away from a fire hydrant do you park? What is the official distance behind an emergency vehicle you have to allow? Holy crap I have to know all this?
So I studied and rolled into the Downsview testing centre for the vision and written test. I give them great credit in that they helped out big time when they saw the reasons, making sure then got the vision machine tilted down to my level, and finding me a spot to write the test from my chair. Despite how bloody blind I am (remember I AM the definition of coke bottle glasses), I passed that part easily enough. Next though was what I was really nervous about…the written.
I mean seriously, two tests, one on rules, the other signs, and you can only 4 wrong on each. Get every one right on one, but 5 wrong on the other, you’re screwed. Now I did have an advantage. Since I was there due to medical reasons, I could ask for a retest immediately if I wished…and I wasn’t being charged for any of it. Dammit, though could you imagine the teasing I’d get if I failed…then failed again? No wait…I’d actually have to have admitted that…hmmm…just thought of that. In any case, I wrote them. After they first gave me the wrong test…somehow I knew something was wrong when the test started talking about walk around checks of busses. Ok right test finally…let’s do this.
Rules first. The first 10 questions, no problem, a few trick ones, pick the best answer, not just the right one, but easy enough. Then to page two. Oh crap. Four questions in a row. On the G1 and G2.
Now for non-Ontarians I should explain. We have graduated licensing in Ontario for new drivers. You get your G1, which I believe you have to be on for a year after doing a written test, then graduate to a G2 with a driving…and here’s the trick. I suspect I even got THAT description wrong. You see when I got my license the system was entirely different! I had something called the 365! You got it as soon as you passed your written test and in theory you could book your driving test the same bloody day. I never had to study anything about G1’s and G2’s! Oh crap.
Answered as best I could, went back to check the other’s, now paranoid as I was, before moving on to the signs portion. That was simple. A few trick questions, but to be honest if anyone CAN’T get 20 out of 20 on that part I’d be questioning them…especially after driving for 20 years.
Hand it in…roll back, nod to the others of various ages (very few teens surprisingly) and wait…and wait…and wait…you can’t even pull out your smartphone! It’s a testing centre! So you wait…and then finally your name is called. By the time you’ve figured it out. If they ask you to confirm your birthdate and address, you are good…if not…ack! Jason! Come up please….and can you confirm your address? Oh thank god! 3 wrong only. Damn G1!
Now comes the fun part. Seriously, do you even remember how nervous you were when you took your driving test? How old were you? 16? Did you wait a bit like me? Do you remember sitting in your car, waiting for the examiner to walk up, introduce himself and go over the rules? “First, I will never ask you to do anything illegal…”
Seriously, I was a 41-year-old man, more nervous than any day OTHER than my wedding day, with Mr. Silent as my examiner, hating the fact that I could call the guy “young”.
I made a stupid joke…and we started. And…I passed. As we parked, with Shannon waiting patiently for me, I had to resist doing a Kermit flail of joy before I had the car in park. Damn, it felt good to get that out-of-the-way. Though I did have to laugh as he told me what I had to “work on”.
Don’t reduce my speed when changing lanes (Ya, thanks bud I was being paranoid about freaking speeding!). Remember to check my mirrors more often (cause you know we ALL check our mirrors every five bloody seconds).
In all honesty, if I hadn’t done a quick refresher with Remo the day before, I’d have flunked it. From the tricky 30 km/h zone right at the testing centre, so remind me not to cut the lines on the on ramp…I’d have been toast. Seriously, though…30?? That’s just being mean.
With that…I passed. I get the little condition of “HC” on my license. One more challenge down.
On to the next.