The Driver’s Test

Drivers TestMy wife and I have decided to make our move to Rosarito full-time.  After ten years of living here part-time, we feel comfortable in making the total commitment.  But, that involves some major changes.

First hurdle, obtain a California driver’s license.  I went online and found and printed some practice tests.  Always one to take short cuts, I figured we’d just review these tests.  We quizzed each other on the five sample tests, each with 10 questions several times, even reviewing the questions on the way to the DMV.  We both were confident we had at least 50 answers memorized.  Didn’t figure they had a few dozen more waiting in the wings.

Arriving 30 minutes early, we saw a long line stretching onto the sidewalk.  A bit smug with our scheduled appointment we approached, only to discover another line under a sign reading:  Appointments Only.

We seated ourselves among some 60 others and waited.  After the interviewer entered the data into the computer I was sent to have my photo taken.  This moved rather fast for state bureaucracy.

I then advanced to the next desk to pick up the test and was shocked to discover it wasn’t anything like the sample test.  Instead of 10 questions I saw 36 questions.  I moved into a booth with anxiety, wishing I had at least read the manual, had done more than merely read through five practice tests.

As a former teacher I have written many tests, but taken none since college.  Each question had only three choices.  For example, “If it is foggy, one should: use fog lights, wait until fog lessens, or use low beams.”  When do you use fog lights if not during fog I reasoned.  But wrong answer, I later learned.

Back at the folding chairs to wait for our tests to be corrected, we sat next to a woman who told us she had failed and had to take it again.  I feared that would be my destiny as well.  Panic started, I could feel my heart beating nervously.  My stomach churning.  Why hadn’t I given this more serious attention?

Susan’s name was called.  Nervously she got up and walked to the examiner’s desk.  After a minute she threw both arms in the air, jubilant.  My happiness for her was over-shadowed by the certainty that I had failed.

Then I heard, “Gerald.”  Within two feet of the desk, I heard, “You passed.”

I felt like a teenager, “Yippee!”

We walked away, grinning, clutching our temporary licenses.  Next hurdle, registering the car, but that’s another story.

Google DMV, select “appointment services” and then follow the appropriate steps.  The cost is $33.00 for the written test with no credit cards accepted, only cash or check.  The telephone number is 1-800-777-0133.

About Gerry Lidstrom

Gerry Lidstrom is a retired english teacher living most of the year in northern Baja California, and summers in Minnesota. He writes regularly for the Baja Review and keeps very busy with all the associations, clubs and activities in Rosarito. He wouldn't trade his ocean front condo for any place on earth, now. Who knows about the future. Watch for his travel articles.

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