Today I took my road test; the one with the crotchety old examiner everyone is afraid of.
We get in the truck and he said, "Get started whenever you're ready." I answered with my newfound Southern charm, "Yes, sir." Then he said, "And one more thing. Let's make sure this truck comes back to the yard with all the mirrors on it." Oh shit.
"They told you??"
"Yes, Ma'am. Now you mind telling me exactly how that happened?" So, I told him the story, leaving out the BAM!! part for fear of giving him a heart attack, and just kept thinking, change the subject change the subject change the subject.
I got in the truck and started forward upon his direction. I made it through the whole course with just a few grinded gears and a few beads of sweat on my forehead from the heat, not the nervousness; that was still to come.
I knew I was going to have to do the difficult shift-from-fifth-gear-to-third-gear thing. It was coming. And I was going to have to do math. There is some formula they told us, having to do with taking yourself out of fifth gear into neutral while watching the speed on your speedometer and the RPM's on the tachometer and at the point where the two are matching, shift into third. The window to do that in is this big. Yeah, that's right; virtually no time.
On our way back to the yard, I was waiting for Father Time to tell me to turn into the yard, not "assuming" I know where he wants me to go, even though I do. Well, he told me too late, I couldn't slow down enough to do that stupid math shit and grinded the crap out of the gears, not able to find any hole to put that fucking gearshift into. I broke into a sweat. I coasted into the yard and stopped. Then he bellowed, "WHY did you stop???"
"Well, I was going too fast to get it into third...."
"That's what you have a brake for!" he says. Oh God. "Well, I guess I'm going to have to catch you next time. You did great up to that point, but you can't be leaving your trailer out on the road and just stop. I can't pass you."
OK, well, no big deal I thought, I'll have another day to practice. Then the program director comes up to me and said, "Hey, I'm going to see if he'll test you again later today. He usually doesn't do that, but I'm going to try to make it happen." Hmm, okay.
Turned out I did get the chance to test again later in the afternoon. We get back into the truck and start out all over again. I get through the traffic light, shifting quickly from second to third and he yelled at me for shifting in the middle of a turn!! Dammit. I said, "Hmm. Not such a great way to start out my second chance, huh?" He grunts and answers me sternly with "Turn right, up there." while pointing to a street we had never been on during the practice runs. Great.
So, I did my little loop around the block, and on my second go round, I managed to find third gear to get my whole trailer back into the yard and stop. He said "Alright. Well, you passed."
"Thank you so much!" I said. "I really appreciate you testing me today. In fact, I just have to give you a virtual air kiss." and I smack my lips and blow the kiss in his direction. He said, "Does it gotta be air??" I smiled. "No sir," I said as I got out of the truck, walked around, gave him a little shoulder hug and kissed him on the cheek. "I just didn't want the other guys to get jealous."
"Uh, yeah, of course. I understand." he stuttered. And then he said, "Well, you done good." before walking away. The guys in my class were watching from the door and joked about how flustered he must have been; he had forgotten his clipboard in the truck and had to go back for it!
I reckon sometimes it just pays to be a girl.