11.12.2008

why i don't miss driver's ed class (a true story)

Yesterday I took my dreaded driver re-training class brought to you by CT DMV. Actually, A Better Connecticut Driver, but who's really keeping track of names? It's still a 4 hour class that's pretty much a refresh of something I learned 6 years ago. People who get caught speeding, running lights, stops signs, etc. have to take this class or get their license suspended. What I learned is that there are all kinds of people out there offending the traffic laws. Besides me, 25 multi-colored-personalities of fun! Fortunately for me, I got to sit at the same table with the chief offender. But we'll get to that in a bit.

This class took place at a local hotel (which actually was a nice blessing since some students had driven a considerable distance whereas I only took about 5-10 minutes). We were all packed into one of the smaller banquet rooms with tiny 3 people-per-table settings. I got there early due to the lady on the phone telling me the doors would be closed and locked had I gotten there a minute past the start time (she told me 5:45 sharp, in actuality it started at 6pm, and I just made it by 5:30... but at least I got a good seat).

OH!! Before we get to the hotel, let me tell you about before I got there. Per the lady on the phone, I had to pay with a money order of $60. (Which brings my total speeding offense to about $360.) So I went to the local money order place I knew of, a 24 hour store down the street from my house that I normally got money orders from. I rarely buy them, and I rarely use checks. So this is somewhat of a hassle for me, but I deal with it. It's about 5pm and the dude says the machine that does money orders is only on in the morning. I'm thinking... WHAT THE STANK?! I don't say it, but I want to. And I feel anger and frustration but I'm too much in a hurry to demand explanations.

I drive down to the grocery store thinking they might have my needs and call my mom on the way, looking for other options. She suggests a pawn shop the opposite way. I love my mom. She was correct. I get there and tell the dude I need a money order and begin to pull out the plastic. He stops me before I go any further to alert me its a cash only deal. It didn't dawn on me at the time. I mean c'mon, it's a pawn shop. He suggests the 24 hour store down the street has an ATM. The same one that turned off their money order machine. Big sigh.

I'm back at the 24 hour store and head straight to the ATM. I pay me stupid $2 to get $80, then grab a Pepsi to break one of the $20s so I have change to buy the money order. (Silly me, before leaving the house I could've grabbed $.60 to avoid this transaction, but the Pepsi comes in handy later.)

I'm back at the pawn shop, I get my money order, and I travel to the hotel. Had I not gone back and forth, I would've been there much earlier. But early birds get the better seats, once you find the room anyway. I helped an older gentleman find the same room too.

Walking in those rooms at evening hours gave me unsettling memories of when I was swindled out out $500 for a pyramid scheme. I don't wanna talk about it.

There's only 3 people in the room when I get there. Three older guys. In my head, being a young guy, I was hoping for some hot girls that happened to be bad drivers. Hey, I can dream. As the time got closer to 6, the room filled up with mostly older men. And what women that did come in, weren't really in my league. One such dude gave me hope when he came in, telling me the last time he had to come to such a class, it was full of girls. He knew me from high school, and he did look familiar, but still after he told me his name, I was drawing a blank. Alas, that night it was the opposite of hot girls.

I don't really like talking about people since I never know who might read this, but one such person who sat at my table... Let me put it like this, I'd never attack a woman. But this woman I think I wanted to duct tape her entire face. I'd leave holes to breathe through and maybe one eye hole, but deep inside, I didn't care much for her. (I wouldn't really do it. Just the sound of the duct tape would make me happy.) If the reason isn't clear, it's because she kept talking. Even before the class started, she was on her cell phone talking to whoever about who knows what. Wasn't really considerate to the others around her even though class didn't start. But while the teacher talked, she had comments. Not helpful or insightful. More along the lines of trying to be humorous. It came off as annoying. Perhaps it was thinking out loud. And when we did the tests? Between reading out loud and pointing out typos, I longed for escape. (I'll throw in the fact she felt like she wasn't supposed to be in this class due to her getting a ticket and it not being her fault. I lost so much interest that I don't remember the specific details of her offense.)

I'm missing a point here. I was at one end of the table, she was at the other. A kind lady sat between us. Like I said, it was cramped as it is. I don't think the lady at the end of the table would've lived very long if the class was 5 or 6 hours. And think, all I wanted to do was duct tape her. I could see the stress and frustration the lady next to me was feeling. She did the best she could to keep it inside, but she was also good with the sarcasm or gestures of "I really hate you right now, please don't speak to me" while smiling or brushing her off completely. At one point she turned to her and said she was giving a little too much class participation when the lady commented on why she doesn't like seat belts. (The lady was a rather large lady, especially in the chest area, and complained TO THE CLASS about having to get out of the seatbelt should there be an accident due to her, um, largeness.)

What made it worse was the dude who knew me (and sat in front of me) was part of the problem, kind of talking or commenting to her or her comments. He was actually making comments all all night to everyone and the teacher and even started a conversation with the teacher about being a teacher. This caused an unseen man in the back to blurt out "Get on with it!" Ironically enough, we just covered road rage.

The other pain we all endured was a man who didn't seem like he followed the whole program. That wasn't the problem I, or others, had with him. It was the coughing. Perhaps it was a smokers cough. I'm not sure. But it was a cough that sounded worse each time he did it. And by worse, I mean it was longer, louder and... uh... moister. I don't want to get too graphic. It just got unpleasant. I wouldn't have been surprised if he coughed up a shoe. In fact, I hoped he would so that way maybe we'd know and be aware "Okay, this guy had a shoe in his lung. Now he'll be quiet and okay the rest of the night."

The whole night could've been a lot worse. I don't want to imagine how. But at least now I'm done with the cops, the DMV and their fees for everything. I will do the best I can to avoid speeding, mostly so I can avoid sitting through another class, and spending hours with people I probably won't ever meet again. God forbid, but how ironic would it be if any of us got into an accident with each other?

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