Driving Miss Daisy (Friggin’ Nuts)

It’s time for a good old fashion rant. Ready? OK, here we go. I’m sick of this f*&#ing Maryland driving test. We’re not trying kids out for NASCAR (though I’m sure some of them may think they are). We’re trying to make sure they have reasonable proficiency to drive to school and to the mall. But, this test is a goddam joke. I’ve heard the first time failure rate is 85%. When I was in graduate school and TA’ed a course, the professor made me write a few of the exams. He said, “by they way, if more than half the students fail, it’s your test that failed.” This test has failed. When I took my driving test in the late 70s in Virginia, I had to make 4 right turns and done. Here, kid, here’s your driver’s license – good luck. I’ve done just fine since then.

Why the sudden rant? Well, maybe because I just stood out in 90 degree humid weather for 2 hours giving parallel parking lessons. And, yeah, my kid failed his first attempt at the test. And, not to brag, but we’re talking about a ridonkulously gifted kid when it comes to physical talent and hand-eye coordination. He’s the captain of his high school baseball team and all that. But, dropping a car into a parallel parking spot is hard. I still miss occasionally and I’m a Parallel Parking Hall of Fame inductee. My son has buddies who failed 3 times before finally passing. Maybe this is just (yet another) tax Maryland levies on us.

Here’s my suggestion – let’s give this test to all the women in my neighborhood and the ones who can’t parallel park in 3 minutes lose their license. I’m betting we’d see a lot of taxis pulling into the cul-de-sac on Monday. Oh, and spare me the whining about the women driver stereotype. In case you can’t tell, I’m in a bad mood and don’t want to hear it. I’m sure there are some women out there who can parallel park with the guys (my wife is one of them), but it’s the exception so drop it.

This test is just friggin’ stupid. The first time my boy took it, he parallel parked perfectly. I was watching from 50 feet away and did a little fist pump when he put the car into the spot perfectly on the first try. Then the douchebag instructor got out and measured how far the wheels were from the curb. 13 inches, one more inch than allowed. Bzzzzzz – you fail. You’re shitting me, right (or as the teen texters would say, YGBFSM)? 13 inches from the curb is a failure? Are we really testing the right things with these kids? Is it really that important that they be able to parallel park 12.0000000 inches from the curb? What about testing whether they can drive and text at the same time or something practical like that?

OK, end of rant. I’m home and cooling off in the A/C with a tall glass of ice tea. He’s taking the test again tomorrow. Hopefully, he’ll find the magic 12 inch mark that demonstrates he’s a safe driver. Ugh.

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About Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is an amateur writer and professional provocateur
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4 Responses to Driving Miss Daisy (Friggin’ Nuts)

  1. Dan Grabois says:

    I took my driving test in Massachusetts in October, having turned the requisite 16 and a half years old. We had a freak early storm, and the entire county was filled with 2 feet of snow. The test was held in a parking lot. “Pretend there is a curb and back up straight along it,” instructed the cop as my “6 and 6” teacher talked him up about the events of the previous weekend. Those were the glory days! On the other hand, in New York City, if you can’t parallel park, you’re in big trouble, so at least my cousin is learning a useful skill (and he can get a good description of 12 inches from Anthony Weiner).

  2. BlueLoom says:

    Ah, parking tests. When we moved to Missouri in 1963, I had been driving for 10 years. In a lot of states, you have to take just the written test. Not Missouri. I had to take the written test & the road test. I was (and still am) pretty good at parallel parking–between CARS. But the Missouri test required that I park between stanchions. I screwed it up. The Highway Patrol guy said, “OK, let’s go back to the office.” “But, but, but,” I stammered nearly in tears, “I thought I got three tries.” “Lady,” sez he, “you know how to drive.” And I got my Missouri driver’s license.

  3. Desusteen says:

    Ahaha thank you, you pretty much made my day.
    I’m not American though I live in MD, I’m starting college in PA in three weeks and I’ve taken my driver’s test (MD) yesterday for the first time. Like your son, I’ve done a good parallel parking but I also was too far from the curb, according to the examiner. I’ve backed up and go forwards four times to go nearer, but she never was happy and at the end, I touched a cone so she failed me. Grrr.
    I’m kinda desperate because there’s no appointment before september but I’ll be 6h from MD and I need my license before going to university… Plus I don’t know how could I do better, I’ve practiced all week w/ my father, we took measures and I got it right pretty much the whole time..
    Anyway, I love the way you write, you made me laugh (yay I’m still sad) so thank you again. 🙂 Hopefully your son did pass.

    • Thanks for sharing your story and sorry to hear that your near-perfect parking job also got dinged by the bureaucrats at Maryland MVA. My son did pass on the 2nd try and I’m sure you will too. good luck!

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