Thursday, June 5, 2008

Left is Right and Right is Wrong

I took the first step towards driving in Ireland on Tuesday, I sat for the theory test. Now I can apply for my provisional license (learner's permit) and learn how to drive! I have visions of driver's ed class at Killian, having to sit out in the heat and I remember one day dropping a pebble down into Luis Bravo's ear and it actually went INTO his ear and then he couldn't get it out and I thought Holy Shit I just killed him. (no, it didn't kill him). Then I was thinking about driving to school in the two-seater 300ZX with Kristy Spade squished into the hatchback.

good times. good times.

These are some of the weird challenges about moving to a different country. They don't care that I have been driving for 15 years (spotless driving record I might add). It takes everything I have not to slip into 'indignant American mode' and roll my eyes and scoff at their rules that shouldn't apply to me. I think everyday of what Georgie said when she said I sounded like the little old Cuban patients that thought they always knew best because "they were a doctor in their country.." If someone from Timbuktu landed in the States and thought they should be given a special pass right to the front of the DMV line because they were the official jitney driving instructor "in their country", we would say, piss off. We, in Miami, have seen how some of the fugees drive so we know that shit ain't the same where they came from.

So, I studied diligently and only missed 2 questions out of the 40 (which is better than Manus' score...) A lot of it is common sense and a lot of it is the same as in the States. Safe driving is safe driving. You have the two second rule for keeping a safe distance, there are red lights and green lights and stop signs, but there are a few things that I've just never seen in the States. Like this sign:

or maybe this sign

or even this one

This one you kinda know what they are talking about, but still it's not a sign you would see in America. And I can't help but think of someone jumping into my car to give me a quick back rub whenever I see it. Yeah, that would calm me.

But can you imagine a sign like that in the States? People would drive by it and be like "What the fu--?" You'd hear honking, they'd give it the finger, Spit on the sign, "I got ya calming right here, muthafucka!" they'd shout while gesturing fanatically at their crotch. I think that section of town would have the most UNcalm traffic around. Come to think of it, that sign is kinda pissing me off. I don't need some sign telling me when I should be calm. I'll be calm when I want to be calm. muthafucka.

Some of the questions did catch me a bit unprepared like:

Q: Why should you drive a tractor more slowly on uneven roads?
A: To avoid severe bouncing. (of course... how silly)

Q: What should you be aware of when driving a tractor over a humpbacked bridge while towing a trailer?
A: Hell, I still don't know that. But, what are the odds of me driving a tractor over a humpbacked bridge while towing a trailer? I mean, without the trailer - that's a possibility, but with...nah.

Q: What danger will arise with the power takeoff of a tractor?
A: You might get jet-propelled into the next dimension. Isn't power takeoff on a tractor how Michael J Fox got back to the future in part I? No, the actual answer is that your clothing might get caught and torn off of your body..
Where is Brad Pitt? I need him to help me with my tractor...

I think this was my favorite one:

Q: If you come upon the scene of an accident, what should you give the victim to drink?

These feckin' Irish LOVE their drink. What should you give them? Wha? Are you kidding me? "Oooh, you're bleeding pretty bad there, Paddy Joe, want me to fix ya a whiskey? It'll straighten that thing right up."

Now I don't remember what the actual question was, but the correct answer was: "There may be livestock in the road"

My friends, I'm not in Kansas anymore... Of course, if I was, maybe that would be a valid answer to know.

As you can imagine, there are a few signs to forewarn of the possibility of animals blocking your path, and if you drive in Ireland, you definitely will get stuck behind a slow-moving cow or two. But don't worry, it only happens like once or twice a week...

If fairness, there were some "gimmes"... like

Q: How do you know when there is a problem with the condition of the vehicle's brakes?"
A: "The vehicle's stopping ability is affected."
Really? duh. I thought maybe they'd just seem dull and lifeless. Quiet and a little subdued. Wonder how many have gotten that one wrong. Yipes.

Or they asked what does this sign mean?

Thank god it was multiple choice.

The testing center was in Waterford, it's the neighboring county and originally I was going to drive myself there, but thankfully my father-in-law agreed to take me. If you were to ask someone directions from Kilkenny to Waterford, they would say, "well that's easy, just get on the "waterford road" and stay on it til you are there." Well, that does sound easy!. But the Waterford road is not a highway. You go in and out of small villages all along the way. And when you are driving, it's hard sometimes to see which way is the right way to stay on a certain road. Especially when the road posts are like this:

I have six months now before I can apply for a full license. I'd better get practicing. Look out Kilkenny!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

lol...that's all I can do. Laugh.