Hey Wheelers!! It’s been a while huh? This time out I decided to take on another set of wheels and get my NYS Driver’s License. I’ve held one before but like any typical New Yorker used public transportation. I didn’t care about renewing it until now. I’ve held a learner’s permit for the last 4 years but it’s going to expire soon so I figured why not upgrade and get my license instead of renewing the permit.
When I made the decision to get my license about a month ago, I needed to schedule a road test before the learner’s permit expires. I tried all of the Brooklyn road test locations but no dates were available. I had to look elsewhere. I chose the closest alternative, Astoria, Queens. A road test was available two weeks prior to the expiration of my permit. I scheduled it. Nervous anticipation ensued.
My neighbor offered to take me driving in her car so I could practice. It had been so long since I’ve been in the driver’s seat of a recent make vehicle, I didn’t know you could adjust the sideview mirrors with controls from inside the car. I’ve driven before so that part of the practice was no problem. The killer was parallel parking. My neighbor was a good instructor though. She made me do it over and over again. My back got all sweaty and stuck to the seat as I tried to remember each step; match my right front tire to left front tire of the parked care, turn on the signal, check the mirrors, look back……whew! Of course, each time I forgot something. But I somehow, through trial and error I guess, managed to do a perfect park a couple times.
My neighbor and her car were unavailable for the road test. I must have asked every friend I knew with a car if they could go to the test with me. No one came through. I had to take matters into my own hands. I found out driving schools offer cars to take road tests so I called the Ferrari Driving School in Astoria to see if they had a car available. They also offered a one-hour lesson prior to the test. Luckily, even in the eleventh hour they had. My road test was at 9:00 am and I scheduled a car at 6:00 pm the night before.
I was so nervous I barely slept that night. I got up at the crack of dawn, got on the train and made my way from Flatbush to Astoria. I arrived right on time. The school hadn’t opened but my instructor and this beautiful brand new Toyota Corolla were there waiting for me. I got in the car fastened my seat belt and it was strangely quite comfortable. George took me around the neighborhood and informed of all that would be expected of me during the test. I felt much more confident since I had another opportunity to practice my 3 point turns and parallel parking.
So we arrived at the test site and lined up along 20th Avenue near 24th St. next to a Con-Ed plant. There must have been at least a dozen cars there many of them from other driving schools. I got out of the car to take a breather and a nervous calm came over me. This was it. I’d heard horror stories of demanding, crusty old examiners so I hoped I could keep my cool should I get one.
It was my turn to go. The examiner instructed me to pull-out when safe. I did. It went by quickly and I remained calm. I think the driving fairies were in the car with me that morning. The examiner was so dry and automatic in her instruction and my immediate obedience had us both in a state of automatic pilot. When I pulled over at the end of the test the examiner handed me my test sheet and said, “Here’s your temporary license.” She was out of the car and gone in the blink of an eye. I did it! I was elated.
There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment. I also get that each time I write a post. Since it’s getting cold now I’ve decided to retire the bike for the season. Not to worry, I’m not going anywhere. Continue to look for my fun and quirky stories about Brooklyn life. My new column’s called The BK Sting.