Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Driving Diary, Part 1

It all started this past weekend. I read the California Driver Handbook online and took the practice tests. My parents helped me study, and then my mom took me to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) on Monday.

We walked up to the counter and were told that we would have a wait of one and a half to two hours. My mom looked to me, but as nervous as I was about learning how to drive, I was determined to take this important step that day if possible. So we waited.

About an hour later my number was called. I walked to window 14 and went through the steps of handing in my paperwork, paying the fee, getting my picture taken, etc. And then I was handed the test. I went over to the testing area and answered the 36 questions amidst the screams of a rambunctious little girl and the continuous activity at the various windows, then headed back to window 14.

The man ahead of me had a very interesting story, I must say! He was taking his vision test--but he only had one contact in. He went and got his glasses. However, to pass the vision test you have to read a line on the chart with both eyes, as well as with one eye covered, and then the other. The only problem was that the man could do two of the above with his glasses on, but because of his contact, he couldn't do all three.

I love the question the lady behind the desk asked: "How do you drive?"

Good question! ;)

He apparently had his reasons for only wearing one contact--thinking he only needed to take the written test, which would require close-up reading, not the vision test. He seemed to think that wearing only one contact is normal... Perhaps. Personally, I would hate only having one contact in, but I am really near-sighted, so who knows?

If any of you have ever worn just one contact by choice, let me know!

Anyway, when it was my turn, I handed my test in and waited, hoping I wouldn't miss more than 6 questions and have to take it again. As it was, I didn't miss any, and I now have my permit!!

My mom took me out to lunch to celebrate, and then we headed to a big empty parking lot across the street from a fairgrounds.

It was time.

With great patience and kindness, my mom showed me the controls and taught me how to back up, drive around the light poles in the parking lot, and park the car. It was both scary and exhilarating, and I can still hardly believe I was actually behind the wheel of a car! Thank goodness no one else was in the parking lot, though. ;) It was a jerky ride, but we made it out safe and sound.

I have a long way to go before I gain enough confidence to get on the road with other cars--and when that happens, I'll have to let ya'll know so you can stay off the sidewalks! ;) But in the meantime, God's in control and my parents are here to help me.

Let the adventure begin!


Bluerose said...

That's hilarious!! I can't imagine wearing one contact. I would have such a migraine!

I'm so glad you passed(with flying colors)!! ;)I know you'll do good. It is really scary at first, but it gets better. Of course, I still won't drive out of town unless absolutely necessary.

Nonners said...

Yay! In South Carolina (or at least in the town I live in) they have a touch screen computer that you take your test on. Plus it's in a glass room so all sound is way muted. I'm so glad I didn't have to take a written test. That would have made me so nervous. I'm not sure why. I just think it would. So kudos to you for passing!! However, I will say that the people that worked at the DMV really didn't like me because I had a whole eye issue too. I left and came back like four times. I just wish they would have been more clear so I wouldn't have to do that. Ah well. It's all over now. :}

Cerella Sechrist said...

Congratulations, Amber!! And LOL on the one-eyed man... ;)

Casey said...

YAY! Those tests are really intimadating, so way to go to pass it in one fell swoop! Our town is so small that the waiting period is vertually nill, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing! Ha! I will say it gets less intimadating the more you drive and I HATED driving when I started. Best wishes!! :)

Kav said...

So do you have your permit permit or your learner's permit? Here we have to do the written test and eye test first then we get a learner's permit and that allows you to take lessons in a vehicle and you can drive but only if you have a qualified driver with you in the car. Then a year later!!!! you go back and do the actual driving test in a car. If you pass that you get a graduated license...can drive alone in the day but not at night for so long and can't do highway driving for so long and I don't know what else. They've made it really complicated.

LOL -- I had to laugh at the eye story. I was driving with a friend (she was driving) and we were out in the country in uncharted territory hunting down a really big book sale. As we're flying down the highway she tells me that I'll have to read all the signs because she's not wearing her contacts and she's blind as a bat without them!!!!!!!!!! I prayed the whole time we were in the car.

Amber S. said...


I know, right?? Maybe it's different for different people, but it would drive me crazy to have just one contact in!

Also, thank you so much for your encouragement and understanding! :) After taking this step, it does seem a little less daunting...


Amber S. said...


Touch screen? That's cool! :)

Thank you for the kind words! I'm sorry you had a hard time with the vision test. :( But you made it, and it is indeed over now!


Amber S. said...


Thank you!! :)

And I just had to share that story--who knew a vision test could get quite so complicated? ;)


Amber S. said...


Thank you for the encouragement and support! :) I think it is a good thing if you don't have a long wait, LOL! ;)


Amber S. said...


I have my learner's permit, and it sounds pretty similar to what you guys have in Canada! :) However, since I'm over 18, I think I can get my license as soon as I'm ready to pass the actual driving test--which for me, might take a while! ;)

And goodness gracious! I'm glad you made it out of that adventure alive! I love your description of why you were out there: "we were out in the country in uncharted territory hunting down a really big book sale." LOL! :)


Vince said...

Hi Amber:

If you were a boy, you would have been born knowing how to drive. But then, girls know how to spell. : )


Amber S. said...


If I were a boy, I may have been born knowing how to drive, but it doesn't mean I would have been born knowing how to drive SAFE. ;)

And yes, for the most part I know how to spell. :)


Amanda said...

Congratulations, my friend!! You'll learn quickly and the more you practice the better it will be. I was so scared to get mine that I waited until I was 22, so you're a lot braver than I was! Oh, but how I wish I didn't wait so long! It's like second nature now and I can do things that when I first sat behind the wheel I never thought were gonna be possible no matter how much practice I got! Bless your mom for her "great patience and kindness" I'm guessing she doesn't have a drop of Italian in her?! Hahahaha, my mom's full blooded and lets just say her teaching me was... well, something you'd see on a reality show! You're not as high-strung on the West Coast either, huh? Word of advice, don't drive on the East Coast until you've had your license for a few years, LOL! ;)

And, you're right, because you're over 18 as soon as you're ready you can take the actual driving test for your license! When I passed my written test the lady gave me a driving test date set about 3 months later. Did they do that with you?

And, Vince's comment made me chuckle :D So true! But then again, I find that most boys have no fear and drive more aggressively, whereas girls are more careful and cautious... probably why our insurance is cheaper, HA! ;) But you'll do great, my friend! Will be keeping you in prayer! :)


Amber S. said...


Thank you! :) And no, I'm definitely not braver than you--I'm still very nervous! I was just determined that I would learn how to drive while I had time this summer, before I graduate from college next year. :)

And no, I don't think we have much or any Italian on my mom's side, although her brother was born in Italy when her parents were there because of my grandpa's military involvement. ;) My mom is super sweet, and while she hates not being the one driving, she was willing to work with me in an empty parking lot, LOL!

As for my license, they didn't set a driving test date for me when I was at the DMV. But after our trip to Disneyland in a few weeks, I'm planning on taking some driving lessons locally and then trying for my license in July sometime. We'll see if I gain enough confidence by then! ;)

Yes, I got a kick out of Vince's comment, too--as well as yours! ;) I'm all for being careful and cautious! Thank you for the encouragement, and especially the prayer! :)


lindsayw said...

Wow, Amber, how exciting! Glad to hear you passed the test! Hope you have a good experience with your driving, and that you make it to your license soon! It was nice to read this and catch up with what's going on in your life. :)

Amber S. said...


Thank you! :) It's great to see you here, and I'm so glad you could stop by!

Hope you're enjoying your summer!