Monday, 22 March 2010

Rancor at the Roundabout

     Warning: The images in this license are obscurred to protect the guilty.

So, as of last Friday, I am the proud owner of a letter that says I've passed the theory portion of my driving test.  It was 50 multiple choice questions, some totally trippy, and 14 video clips where you must spot and click on the developing traffic hazards.  My favorite hazard was the small flock of sheep.  But wait, there's more.  I still have to take the practical exam (driving portion.)  Our local driver examination station has a 47% pass rate.  Good Lord.  It was easier to pass the bar exam.  I know for a fact the pass rate was significantly better.

Driving on the left was surprisingly easier than I thought.  Shifting on the left was a bit interesting - at least the pedals and gears are in the same place as before, except you're sitting on the other side of the car.  It took me a while to reprogram the brain to judge distance from the center while sitting in the opposite (I'll avoid the term wrong) seat.  It wasn't all daffodills and tulips, though.  Here are some early exchanges from Chumley's School of Driving.

Me, driving around a roundabout: Look kids, Big Ben!
Chumley: Crickets chirping.  Apparently, he has never seen "National Lampoon's European Vacation."  Aren't we always learning more about our spouses?  Pay attention!
Me: How do I get off this thing?
Chumley:  Turn right.
Me: Right?!  How do you expect me to do that?!  It's a series of lefts!! Ugh!

Behold what I was dealing with, oh right-hand drivers, and feel my pain:

Chumley: I want you to go straight over the next roundabout.
Me:  Won't that be difficult?  This car doesn't have four-wheel drive like my old Jeep did.
Chumley:  What are you talking about?
Me:  You don't want me to drive through the grass, do you? (edging straight forward toward landscaping.)
Chumley:  NO!  Go around, AROUND!  Take the opposite exit!  UGH!

So, nota bene, turn right means take the exit at 3 o'clock.  Go straight over means take the exit exactly opposite you.  Most importantly, the quickest way to change Chumley's usually pleasant demeanor is to put him in fear for his life.  For what it's worth, I do that less often nowdays.

My driving lessons on how to pass this dang driving test start next week.  I hope the instructor speaks American.


CambridgeLady said...

Oh I sympathise totally, as a Brit who never got the hang of driving on the right in the USA. And the American roads are so much easier too with lights at every intersection - you never have to make a decision for yourself :o) It did take forever to travel a few miles though......

The roundabouts do start to make sense - honest- and they keep the traffic moving. Before you know it you'll drive on auto-pilot like the rest of us.

Congrats on passing your Theory Test :o)

Anonymous said...

Nicely put. Congrats on passing the first hurdle!

ChaChaneen said...

Hilarious, stinking hilarious! Thanks for the laughter as always! This is so funny!

Grace said...

Oh, I LOVE the roundabouts! As CambridgeLady attests, they really do keep the traffic moving even with that one driver that keeps going 'round and 'round and 'round not knowing exactly which exit to take or how to exit. :) I prefer the driving here over driving in the US or Canada. People stick to their lanes, the correct lanes for that matter. And quickly move over to the left when they see you coming without any intention of slowing down behind them. I actually drove illegally here past the 12-month validity of my US licence, then passed my theory test and failed the driving test not once, but TWICE! I became so discouraged, that I haven't driven since - that was a couple of years ago. I've since found out that the pass rate at my local test centre is 38%, and have been advised by a local learner to test at another centre. Need to get used to being behind the wheel again, but perhaps with a mask on if I must have that L for loser plate on our American-sized SUV. :)