One week passed and I have been driving skillfully on the road, it’s time now! I came to the testing place with confidence. My documents are in place, driving practice done, glasses ready and, of course, I won’t forget to put on make-up. I arrived at the same time as last time. How come there are so many people today in Sterling? ( DMV VA) I had to wait for my turn to get my documents checked (same as last time plus certain documents for the car we will use for test). Then I got my sight checked and waited for almost 3 hours until I was called. A lady officer asked me to sign some documents and directed me to follow her. I was being nice and opened the door for her, no grateful words return! Anyway, I leaded her to my car.
“ Get in the car and start the engine! But don’t start driving yet!” The officer commanded.
“Ok.” I opened my car and started the engine.
Then she told me turn on the right and left turn signals, warning light, headlight, honk, touch the brake until….
“ Push the car reverse!”
“Oh no! What am I supposed to do now?” My sister didn’t train me to do this. I tried so hard to think what she tried to ask me to do. I couldn’t understand her accent. I’m kinda dumb and my English is just basic. What should I do then? I tried to do everything I hadn’t done yet like trying to push the accelerator, adjusting some gears, turning the steering wheel etc. The lady looked at me pathetically. She might thing what on earth I was trying to do…
“Mam, you didn’t get what I told you, right? Then I can’t allow you to drive.”
“Please officer, may I ask my sister? I’m not really good at English T” I begged her forcefully.
“No, you can’t. You are the one who is getting tested, not your sister. Turn off the engine and leave. I don’t allow you to drive.”
“……………….” I walked crestfallenly out of my car. All that confidence I brought with me this morning is now gone. I was waiting so long for my turn and I was in a car not even 5 minutes and she asked me to leave. “Ok, I have nothing to lose now.” So I asked the officer how to spell that word she was saying. And she wrote “REVERSE”. “Oh mine! We pronounce it differently in my country. Our accent is another way around. Please have sympathy for me!”
I was thinking about driving backward also and I was about to start to drive but the officer didn’t’ allow. She just told me to stepped on the brakes and reverse which she meant for me to change to gear R to see if the brakes work properly or something. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t remember that we need to be tested this also so she didn’t train me. “Alright, I’m just dumb!I will return tomorrow!”
You are allowed to do the road test three times and if you fail, you have to take driving course and re-test. But this time, I didn’t even start my car so it didn’t count. So I have three more chances… Ok. I won’t give up so easily….See you tomorrow, DMV!
I came back the next day. I was waiting with less confidence than the first day. I’d learned the lesson so I studied as many specific terms as possible. I also watched videos on Youtube to reinforce my knowledge. Somehow, I was still not sure. When I was called to get my papers checked, the same lady from yesterday who didn’t let me pass the test was there to receive me. What a destiny! She seemed to recognize me so I asked if there anything else I should know. She just said the test would be like yesterday and when driving on the road, I would be told to turn left/right and change the lane. That’s all. The vocabularies would be simple and I must pass the test today.
When my documents were done with the checking process, I was called again by a big size white lady who is a bit aged. She signed the papers and asked me to follow her. I opened the door for her and like yesterday, no thank you or anything. “What’s wrong with the people here? Why they are so arrogant?” Whatever! I don’t care! (I turned my face upward and walked to my car.) Then we did the same steps like yesterday until….”reverse”. I smiled secretly as I already knew what it means. I passed the first step. Then the officer entered the car (I remembered my seat was significantly flattened.) After that, she told me to start the car. “Great! Finally, I can start my car.”
“Set defrost! ” The officer said.
“Umm, pardon me!” My head told me I’m in trouble now. “What the heck this word means?” My heart was beating hard as if I was doing aerobic dance in the part. I tried so hard to think what it should mean. “Could it be to set default or set the side mirrors (I thought it was like resetting computer)” So I pretended to adjust the mirrors.
“Set defrost! ” The officer repeated and raised her voice. “This is not good. This scenario is like yesterday. What else I will be facing? Oh my god!”
“Uhh, I don’t understand this term. Can you please explain me?” I pleaded her.
“I told you to let the outside air in. What should you do?”
Alright, I understood better from her explanation. So I needed to let the air in to defrost. But I had never used this function. I come from tropical country, Miss! And I just got my driving license like two months ago. I never tried to drive during winter time. Anyway, I tried to get a hold of myself and I was kinda ring a bell that my dad in Thailand used this function once when it was raining. So I pressed that button. But I didn’t realized…!!!! In order for it to function, I have to turn on its fan as well. The officer looked at me pathetically and told me the thing I never wanted to hear…..
“ I can’t let you drive. You must first know your car well enough and know how it functions. You failed today. Turn off the engine and follow me!”
“@#$%^&*%&(@!@#$” I wanted to swear at her in Abu Dhabi language (I wonder if it exists!) “What the hell? I can’t turn on the defrost function right now. But what it has to do with the road test? Can I just learn how to use it later? It’s still summer now! What is all this about? I have waited my time twice and I wasn’t even off to the road. Oh mine! I’m getting crazy! (I am frustrated inside but I have to be physically modest and tried to plead her for mercy.)
“ Please mam, give me one more chance!” I didn’t even finish, the fat officer walked out of my car right away (I could feel my car was jumping up.) I sit a little bit more in my car with disappointment. I though “the history must be recorded for a candidate who couldn’t star driving twice in a row. Or am I not lucky enough to be able to drive in America” Then I slowly got out of my car.
When I entered the facility, I asked the officer if there’s anything else I should know. She said set defrost is the last thing before driving…..What a shame! I already asked another officer if there was anything else and she said no. Now with the defrost. “What is it? The next step, shall I open the hood and change the engine oil or inflate the tires?? Help me plssssss! I’m done with the road test!!!My sister’s friend saw me being discourage and suggested me to get tested somewhere else (Once my sister’s friend borrowed a car to the test and she couldn’t open the window and couldn’t pass. But the officers at another unit are friendlier and she passed the first test.) I will go to another unit tomorrow. Here is enough. Done!!!”
“Back to the same old place where I’m familiar with (Please sing along with tunes.)” I don’t know what inspired me to come back here again. “I might be a brutal invigilator here in my past life and I have to repay in this life! Hahaha!” The thing was, my sister was free only in the morning and if she took me to another test unit, she wouldn’t make it to her appointment. So I determined if this time I failed again, I would change the unit.
There were many people waiting and it took longer than usual. When done with the paper check, I was called for the driving test and finally…. “(the song starts) พรหมลิขิตบันดาลชักพา ดลให้มาพบกันทันใด (A sudden meeting inspired by destiny.) I met the lady from the first day again. (We might have been mother and daughter in the past life.) When she saw me, she seemed to recognize me and she might wonder why this woman still couldn’t pass the test! In fact, I was happy to see this officer as she might be kind and have mercy on the little poor me.
Then I walked to the car and we did exactly the same thing till the reverse part, the officer said and laughed. I’m so blessed to see the smile of the officers here for the first time. “See, I can do it this time. Doing the Reverse thing is just a piece of cake!” Then she entered the car and told me that we would start the driving test now. I thought to myself “And how about the defrost part? Why that big lady asked me to do??” (I asked my sister and her friend later and realized that they didn’t do the defrost as well that’s why they didn’t train me.) “So where is the standard?” If I hadn’t met that lady yesterday, I wouldn’t have been stuck with the Defrost.
Alright, I hold myself together and get ready for the driving test. I drove as I had practiced and parked my car at the stop sign. I also drove with the speed limit, turned on the turn light every time I turned or change the lane. During the test, the officer complained that it was hot inside and directed me a little bit. The driving test took ten minutes and I drove back safe and sound. The officer didn’t say a word so I followed her with joy to get inside. And when she told me that I passed the test, I was so happy that I wanted to hug her. “See! If you let me drive since the first day, I would pass for sure”. I had to pay 20 bucks for the fee before I leave. When I told my sister, she couldn’t be any happier. Finally…Finally…I got it!
To be honest, driving test is not that hard and complicated. Besides our skills, it also depends on our luck (But it might be from my dumbness in this case.Hahaha!) So I take it as a lesson that I have to be welled prepared before I do anything. We can’t always follow the people who have done it before us. So I wish you all the best of luck passing the driving test in America. (Oh! Don’t forget about reverse and defrost! I hope no one would end up like me. Hahaha)