Driving tests and diapers


Following my successful foray into driving theory last Thursday, I booked my road test for the following day in a small town called Jasper (approx 3000 inhabitants), about 2.5 hours drive south of Nashville, close to Chattanooga and the county borders with Alabama and Georgia. You might think that it would be more convenient to take the test in, say, Franklin, or Nashville, or Canada, or really anywhere closer than Jasper, but I couldn’t find a test centre nearby which could fit me in any sooner than late October.

The ladies in the DMV place at Jasper were very sweet. I think perhaps they were pleased to see someone they weren’t related to.

I can’t begin to tell you how different this test experience was compared to my UK driving test in 1991. I was a little worried that the nice examiner lady would be put off by the stash of spare nappies/diapers and discarded root beer bottles in the back, but she seemed unfazed. She also declared that I would have no problem with the test. I can only presume that she took one glance at my “distinguished” appearance and realised I had clocked up a few miles behind the wheel, and was disregarding the fact that I would be driving an unfamiliar vehicle, on unknown streets, on entirely the wrong side of the road.

She was proved right though. The test consisted of a few turns at junctions. No reversing at all, never mind into a parking space, no hill start (bit redundant with an automatic box), no emergency stop. Perhaps just as well, or we might both have been wearing the diapers, so to speak.

Looks like I did just begin to tell you how different the driving test experiences were after all.

So, with Tennessee driving license in hand, the thoughts turn to what kind of car to buy. At the school we’ve been learning how to hear God’s voice, so I asked him what he thought of my idea of getting a massive twin cab pickup truck. He said he thought it was a little OTT for my needs.

So I found a reasonably priced sensible-looking car online, before discovering it didn’t have electric windows. I mean, seriously, this is supposed to be America. Can you imagine the tangle I’d get in at a drive-thru if I had to actually wind down the window first?

So, finding a car and a house are the remaining jigsaw pieces to put into place in order to settle into life here with a degree of independence, and thus reduce my sponging from my hosts and Charlene. Although living with Alyn & AJ has been, I feel, of mutual benefit. I get a roof over my head, food, a minivan (with multitudinous cup holders and spare diapers for emergencies) to drive when Charlene’s car is at the garage; they drink my root beer and get to reach their broadband supplier’s data download limit 3 days before the end of the month. Alyn is particularly pleased about this last benefit. I blame ESPN for streaming live cricket from Sri Lanka. And then there was the Ryder Cup…

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