a required taste for the pretentious as all get out





come on, as if you didn't fail your driver's test the first time, too
September 13, 2003, 5:54 pm

It was December and my father had just spent two hours teaching me how to parallel park in the parking lot behind Kaufman's (a local crab house). Determined and invincible, I went to my driver's test.

When the ancient hard-nosed woman plunked herself into my car and ordered me in grouchy Balmerese to make a left at the stop sign and my car wouldn't go anywhere, I should have known it was a sign of doom.

"Think really, really hard about what you're not doing," she said, yawning.

I hadn't put the car in park.

I failed the test on the parallel parking, succeeding not only to go over the five minute time limit, but in my frustration, running into two of the poles behind me. Oops.

Suffice to say, I passed the next go 'round, wiser that I wasn't the best at everything I tried for the first time, and that I wasn't invincible.

Today, unfortunately, my cousin learned the same lesson.

I was enjoying some quality MST3K in my pajamas around 10:00am when my aunt barged into my room near hysterical. "JESS, JESSICA," she said so urgently in a tone usually reserved for either women on the run from the police or people running from a ticking bomb, "Can we borrow your car?"

Apparently, the good folks at the MVA don't look too kindly upon Jeep Wranglers with the stickers affixed to the wrong sides of the license plate. I cannot make this shit up.

Since I technically own my vehicle, I had to go along on the MVA run, relegated to sitting shot gun while my cousin slowly prodded her way through the rain to the course. My aunt and I watched under cover of an awning as three 16 year-old kids took the wheels the last time under Learner's Permits. Had it been Vegas, the betting pool would have been staggering on who would have crapped out first.

The girl whose Severna Park mother paced back and forth under a golf umbrella came back in tears first, having aced the parallel parking but, in her haste to leave the parking space, jumped a curb. The Korean boy, who was taking his test in a brand spanking new Volvo, forgot to put his blinker on as he left the holding pen came back next, jumping a curb on the three-point-turn. Disappointed parents had to come to grips that not only had their child failed, but they would have to give up another Saturday evening to live life in the car pool.

My cousin thrust her soaked folder at her mother when she came back; her course was obstructed from our view because of a guard rail and a fence. "That's it; it's over," she huffed.

"Did you pass?" My aunt asked.

"Mother, I'm pissed. What do you think?"

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