Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The Wrong Turns
Realizing that I have not yet explained how much of a pain getting my license was...
Let's do that now.
The first test went wrong for a number of reasons.
For one, it happened that the guy looked like an almost-assailant of mine, was WAY too cocky, and in general pretty obviously hated women.
That was fun.
I felt remarkably unsafe.
He was also very vague.
Like, Dude, don't say "Sunday driver…" without specifying if I am being one, or should be.
He claimed I was speeding and gave me a mockingly presented pop quiz at the end.
I'm a pretty cautious driver for obvious reasons, so no, I was not speeding at any point.
He also told me I was way too cautious.
THAT one, I'll believe.
He wouldn't even look at my mother, who had to basically chase him down to ask if I passed.
His response? "She needs work."
After about a month of me never wanting to try again, my well meaning parents sent me off with an instructor about two weekends before my second road test.
To clarify, I did pass it on the third try.
This particular driving lesson went so poorly that it ended with my sobbing hysterically.
Oddly enough, not at all due to driving.
Before we even started, I got a call from the driving instructor-man saying that he was looking on google, but couldn't figure out where my house was.
I did my best to explain, to which he responded, "I KNOW the area."
...Like, okay dude. If you know the area, why are you having a problem?
The houses are clearly numbered and otherwise it's kind of just us and deer, but whatever.
Anyway, he came to the house to pick me up and drove the car to the lot where he would, in theory, have me drive.
Again, the driving was not the part that flipped me out.
In fact, the only driving he had me do initially, was weaving around parking spaces.
I did this while he occasionally slapped my hand, not entirely explaining why, and then saying things like, "You looking to get slapped??" and "You wanna get hit, dontcha??" and then laughing, like this is a funny thing to say after I've already told him that, no, seriously, I'm a survivor of abuse and that's kinda entirely triggering, so please don't.
He tried to fix it by saying I could slap him back, and then holding out his hand and forcing me to slap it, even after I told him that it made me reeeaaaallllly uncomfortable.
Also, fun fact, I have cartilage where there should be bone in my wrist.
REALLY hurts when hit, even as a light slap.
Also, grabbing my hand is a terrible plan because of that.
Still did not cry here.
That part was all preempted by him saying, "I'm going to be a male, chauvinist pig for a second," and then just asking me really politely if I know how they train for football.
Dude, you wouldn't have come across as a jackass if you had just asked the question or talked about the training outright, without announcing that you are, in fact, a jackass.
I must have done something right though, as he then had me go on to phase two.
Keep in mind, the first HOUR of instruction was him driving around town mumbling things as he thought of them, calling this a "demo" like that would at all be helpful to me.
I chalked it up to the fact that he is probably eight thousand years old.
Part two involved him making me FLOOR the gas and then wait until he told me to STOMP on the break.
Everything about this was terrifying and extremely dangerous, yet I managed to not cry at this point.
I did, however, consider calling someone to pick me up, or just the police, because clearly I was trapped in a car with a lunatic.
He said this was to teach me what it felt like, in case it ever happened.
…Wouldn't I know what it felt like if I ever had to do it?
And WHY do this for the person WHO ALREADY SAID SHE HAD BEEN IN MULTIPLE ACCIDENTS???
And yet still, I had not cried.
At this point, he decides I'm ready to drive home.
Two hours have almost passed, and I have done NOTHING that I wanted to do, such as things that are actually on the road test.
By telling me I'm going to drive home, what he meant was that my feet would control the gas and break, but his hands would never leave the steering wheel…
So, this old man is like, draped across my freaking lap to control the car, questioning why I'm trying to fight him when we are veering on top of the line on my side, and otherwise coasting with the wheel RIGHT next to the line…
I'm just waiting for the left mirror to get clipped off, really.
THIS is when I start crying.
He tells me not to be embarrassed, and that HE isn't scared.
If he was scared, after all, he wouldn't have let me drive home.
…He didn't see me doing ANY driving.
And I did NOT care if he was scared, nor was I embarrassed.
He also used the word "angsty" when I asked to pull over.
I explained to him that I was afraid of getting hit, and that was why I was crying.
He told me not to be afraid, and that no one was going to rear end us.
I explained that, no, I was afraid of HIM hitting me.
I felt unsafe IN the car.
Then he said he was sorry and that he didn't mean to make fun of me.
I don't even know what he meant by that.
By the time we got home, he decided not to let me do the parking in front of Rob's car, and to instead demo how easy it is.
He did what could only be described as a twenty point turn, and actually backed into Rob's car.
There was no damage, though the license plate did make a satisfying pop noise, as if to say, "HA, you asshole."
EDIT: No, his license plate did actually pop off soon after.
He then proceeded to tell me that he'd be calling my mother to tell her I did a great job (I’m a grown ass woman. I'll call my own damn mother) and he let me know that I'm totally not ready for the test and I would fail it if I took it now.
…Gee, thanks, guy-who-didn't-see-me-drive-and-instead-just-freaked-me-out.
Our interaction ended when he reminded me that we had been together for two hours and that his price is $35 an hour, but that I could pay any time, and he's not worried.
I told him I didn't think I could handle another day of that right away, and that I wanted to cancel the 9:30 for the next morning, but maybe see him for a three point turn and parallel parking sometime next weekend.
He looked at me like I was a moron, handed me a piece of paper that reads "How to parallel park for the road test" and then said he'd see me at 9:30 the next day.
I went upstairs.
Rob was taking a nap, as he still wasn't feeling well all weekend.
I tried to hook a right to the bedroom, and instead flopped down on the floor by the door and just started ugly-sobbing.
There was so much snot.
Rob didn't wake up, but Perry recognized the sound of hysterical tears, and so burst through his doorway with a box of tissues.
I literally cried on Perry's shoulder for a half hour.
He's a trooper, really.
Rob woke up around then, and I had calmed down enough to be coherent about what had happened.
This was a good thing, as Rob's instinct was to panic and think I was in some way physically hurt.
I was still hyperventilating every now and then, but not to the point of a full blown panic attack.
I contacted my parents, explained what happened, and they laughed at me, telling me to suck it up.
Rob then called my mother (Why is everyone calling my mom for me??) to explain that we would not be seeing the man again.
My parents then said, "OH! We're sorry. We just thought she was exaggerating and being dramatic. We didn't realize she was actually upset!" because my word means nothing.
…This may explain how my life has gone the way it has, actually.
So, Rob took over helping me polish everything up, driving wise, though I was kind of a wreck all Sunday.
Rob and Perry are both endlessly patient.
For the record, I did not pay the driving instructor man.
EDIT: My parents still paid him.
I did sort of get an apology from the driving man, through him calling my mother (he did have MY number, but whatever) and saying that he was sorry he upset me.
He figured it was because of the gas and break exercise.
While that was stupid and dangerous, it was not at all what freaked me out.
Which, you know… I told him.
I swear I told him what the problem was.
Is there just something about me that completely invalidates
everything I say about my own anxieties? Because what the Hell?
In any case, I was pre-freaked out for the second test based on that instructor and the first time I took the test, so I actually went SO SLOWLY that I had trouble getting up a hill.
The third one I actually passed, and I wonder how much of that was due to the fact that
A. I just gave no shits anymore. I just wanted it done forever, and
B. the person grading was a woman about my size.
There is something extra creepy about being a survivor and then being trapped in a car with an older man and having to take all of his orders.
In essence, that was what the test was for me over and over.
BUT it's done.