Driving my motorcar

I have been driving a car for a long time. Longer than I care to remember.
I first obtained my driver’s license in Paris, a few months before being drafted in the French army.
During my first few days as a conscript, our sergeant asked us who knew how to drive. Expecting a cushy driver job some of us said that we did.
OK said the man, pilot these wheelbarrows to the parade ground and pick up the dead leaves. So much for volunteering!

I originally learned how to drive on a Renault “Dauphine”, a cute little rear-engine car equipped with a manual transmission. Driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission is easier but it was not readily available in those days… and anyway, handling a stick is so much more fun than passively following your car’s directives.

A few days ago the California DMV graciously invited me to renew my driving license before my next birthday. A written test will have to be completed they said.
Very kind of you I thought, but I didn’t like the smell of it. This formality intimidated me. Like any seasoned driver, I know (most) of the road rules, but don’t ask me about statistics or figures. Don’t ask me about fines, distances, percentages… I absolutely don’t know the answers and I don’t think that knowing these details is necessary.

But the DMV ridiculously insists that I should be cognizant of these pesky numbers if I want to continue driving. Curse you DMV bullies!
Yes, I want to continue driving so I started to cram online for my upcoming exam; the questions asked confirmed to me that some of them are pointless.

For instance:

For an underage driver, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of _______ gives California authorities the legal right to arrest the individual.


Do you know the answer? Be honest, Santa is watching.
I am well aware that I should not drink and drive and this is good enough for me. I don’t need to know what exact percentage of alcohol in my bloodstream can send me to the pokey.

But driving is synonymous with self-reliance and I am fiercely independent. I don’t want to rely on anybody to take me anywhere… even though I belatedly discovered that being driven has a few advantages. For instance, you can snooze while somebody else is behind the wheel…

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? George Carlin

Well, I have a date (yes you need an appointment) with the DMV a few days after Christmas. Wish me luck, or as we say in France “merde” (break a leg).


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