Monday, January 16, 2012

And Then She Passed!


We pulled up to the waiting area
so that Chelsea could take her driver's test.

We expected the very nice man
who had registered us.
Sure enough, 
there he came....
and got into the car in front of us.
Then came another man.
This one all bundled up against the 
cold and unsmiling.
He demanded our paperwork.
He got in the car and away they went.

To the parallel 
parking area.
This was the area most dreaded.
I, having been booted from the car, 
was shivering as I stood against 
the building.... watching.

You have to understand that 
this particular part of the test course is
 the stuff of legends around here.
In fact, on any given Sunday you can 
go to the testing area and find parents and 
prospective licensed drivers
circling the building in order to 
practice their parallel parking.

You get just one shot at it.
Touch that curb and it is over.
The waiting list is long and you'll have 
another month or more to wait 
before you can take the test again.

We had not come here to practice.
Not even once.
Warren had taken her out one evening
and they did some practicing in our area....
then she had set up a trash can and I'd 
parked the Buick at my mother's driveway 
where she had practiced a while one
day that week.

This was it...
I did not have high expectations for her 
to pass this part of the test.

So, I watched.
She backed in and parked that car
like a pro.

They moved on to the next part of the course.
Before long they returned.
The proctor (for lack of a better word at the moment)
got out of the car and passed me silently as he 
headed back to the building.
I got into the car and Chelsea looked at 
me with tears in her eyes.
She said, "I passed!".

I asked what we were to do 
next and she didn't know.
Now I began to get worried.
Wouldn't he have told her what to 
do next if she had passed?
I asked exactly what the man had said.
"You made it."
That was it.

We looked at each other.
What if he meant she had survived the 
test and not that she had passed?
We decided that the only thing to do was 
to go inside and ask.

So...that is exactly what we did.
The same kind man who had registered
us was back at the desk.
He seemed surprised that she didn't know 
if she had passed and asked for her permit.

Sure enough, neither the pass nor fail were
marked.  There were, however, some numbers
written there.
He began chuckling and mumbling something 
about no one being bullet proof then told us 
to sit down and stay there.

After a while a familiar figure came from the 
back and went to a spot behind a desk along 
a wall.  I asked Chelsea if that was the man who 
had given her the test.
She wasn't sure...since now he had no 
coat, hat and scarf.
He did not even glance in our direction.
After another "eternity" he gruffly called her name.
We tentatively went to his desk.
He held up her permit and requested that 
she confirm everything was correct on it.
She did.
He persisted...was she sure?
She was...but becoming more unsure all of the time.
He had her sign a paper.

Finally I told him that she still didn't know 
if she had passed the test.

Now it was his turn to look incredulous.
He said, "I told you that you made it.
What did you think that meant?"

I'm pretty sure Chuck is not an ogre.
But he surely enjoyed torturing my girl.
He asked her why she was so nervous.
It reminded me of my middle school gym
teacher who delighted in toughening up 
my tenderness.

While it may not have been as straightforward
as we would have liked it was definitely the 
desired result and one which we will not 
soon forget.

Calling her Daddy to tell him the good news.

Chelsea's first solo drive was 
to .....
Starbucks, of course!


Marydon said...

Congrats to Chelsea ... oh, how exciting for her.

Now for the parents Hail Mry's ... chuckle!

Have an awesome week ~

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Chelsea. That's a really nice picture of Chelsea, with her thumbs up.

Theresa said...

Congratulations Chelsea! Sorry about the NOT SO PLEASANT fella! It takes so little to be kind! Anyway, like you said the result was pleasant! Drive safe Chelsea! BIG HUGS to all of you!

Doris said...

I've been through these driver tests too. They make me as nervous as my child taking it! So happy she passed!

Vee said...

Congrats to Chelsea. Sounds as if Chuck could use a bran muffin. To Starbucks? Are you kidding me? If she were mine, she'd get to go to the grocery store for bread and milk runs and that's it for weeks. Months! (I'm tough. ☺)

jAne said...

congratulations, chelsea!

Buttercup said...

Congratulations, Chelsea! A well-deserved treat at Starbucks.

Gayla said...

Yay! Congratulations, Chelsea!

Elena said...

Awww, congratulations to Chelsea! That's great!

Melissa G. said...

Whoohoo! So glad she passed!
If we lived close i'd have her drive me to Starbucks too! =)