Monday, March 14, 2011

Not Responsible

And my whirlwind tour of fucking up continues.

This latest event points out that I'm not just irresponsible, which is bad enough, but also, I'm not a responsible person. I'm so insulated from having to do everyday things that normal people do. And when I get a shot to do one of those things, I'm so used to not having to be responsible that I screw it up just by being careless.

As everyone who knows me is well aware, I don't have a driver's license. It's something that I've neglected to do over the years just because I never made the effort to recruit a family member or friend to let me practice driving with their car and take the driving test. I've owned a permit many times over the years, but I always let it expire before I felt confident enough to take the test. Urged only by my fiancee's demand that I have a license so that I may drive myself around when I move to Memphis and marry her in several months, I got another permit towards the end of last year and I begged my aunt's husband to take me out driving since I live only three blocks from them. He made time for me a couple of weekends ago while teaching his youngest son how to drive. And despite my jitters and obvious inexperience, I did well enough in my hour or so of driving that he thought I was ready to take the road test.

And there we were this past Saturday at the nearby driver's facility at 7:15A, 15 minutes before the facility opened, and he had let me drive all the way to the place, which was about 15 minutes away. Of course, in a possible sign that my fat head was out over my skis on this one, I drove in the opposite direction of several arrows on the ground in the parking lot because I didn't know what the fuck I was doing. And I've never claimed to know how to parallel park, but my aunt's husband made me back out and re-park his ginormous SUV in a side-by-side space because I pulled in so badly. But hey, I'm here, and I'm going to take this test, and if I'm not good enough and I fail, then I'll work on my weaknesses and come back at a later date.

So I left my aunt's husband in the car and stood outside in line in 40° weather behind a melting pot of people, wondering how quickly the line would move once they opened the doors. The answer was, very quickly. But there was a problem once I made it in--the first guy I spoke to told me that I needed the insurance card of the car I would be using before I could go any further. I called my aunt's husband, probably waking him, and asked him to bring me the card. He did so with two hands because the card was just a light square piece of paper and the morning was rather windy. I clutched the paper and went back in line, and soon enough, I was back in the face of the folks that comprise that first gatekeeper crew. I flashed the insurance card and my own ID, and I was on my way. It took a half-hour for my number to be called, but I took my number, insurance card, and ID to a young black dude who calmly put my information into his computer. He took a printout and placed my insurance card and ID together with the printout, along with a couple of pamphlets urging me to fill out info allowing the state to take my body parts in case of accidental death. He connected these pieces of paper with a single paper clip and sent me to the cashier. The cashier took off the clip and examined these documents, then put them back together while adding yet another printout, then told me to take my car around the corner and line up in order to take the road test.

My mind had wandered during all of this, and I wasn't paying much attention when the guy clipped my shit together and sent me to the cashier. And when she unclipped and re-clipped my shit and told me to take my car to the testing area, I was focused on nothing but where I was going to take the car once I went outside and got back to the car. I was not used to being responsible for things like my ID and insurance card because I wasn't used to having to be responsible for those things. I walked back to the car, wind whipping, papers being carelessly clutched by my one hand. And when I made it back to the car and took away the paper clip to make sure that everything was there, well, everything wasn't there. The thin insurance card was gone. I drove around to the testing area, sorta in disbelief that this thing was about to go totally off the rails. I mean, I had to have the card in order to make it this far in the process, so they probably won't ask to see it again, right? Meanwhile, my aunt's husband got out and attempted to go in and look around for the card, but the security guys wouldn't let him because he would have had to cut in front of the dozens of people waiting in line, and I guess they didn't trust that he just wanted to look around for a second. I searched everywhere for that damn card--shuffling through the printouts and pamphlets, opening the car door to see if it had fell in the seat or on the floor as I sat down, even checking my pockets several times even though I had no reason to think that I had slipped it in my pockets. Some old white man with a badly runny nose and a clipboard approached the car and asked, "Which one of you's driving?" I raised my hand. And wouldn't you know, the only thing he wanted to see before letting me drive was the fucking insurance card. When I said that I must have lost it, he just shook his head and said, "Can't take the test without an insurance card."

I decided that I had to make a dash for the facility to see if the guards would recognize that I was just there and let me search. My aunt's husband didn't think that would work, but it did. However, the floor was clean, the two clerks had no idea where my card could have gone, and it had been about an hour since I came out, so if the card hit the ground, the wind had taken it about 450 miles by now. My aunt's husband had one more idea when I got back to the car: He found some expired insurance cards, and he hoped that the old man with the runny nose would accept those. His response only served to make me feel like a complete turd: "Are you sayin' those cards are expired? No, what you're saying to me doesn't mean anything right now. You can't take the test without a valid insurance card, pal. Sorry." And with that, I waited another 20 minutes or so for the cars in front of me to go out for the road test, then when I got some space, I drove home and apologized to my aunt's husband.

I've rarely felt as low as I did Saturday. It was all right there in front of me--a person taking the time to tutor me, providing a vehicle for me, directing me to the facility, and all I had to do was handle the proper documents long enough to get back in the fucking car and drive. Couldn't even do that. I don't know how other people handle it when they have the ball on their rackets and completely miss the ball, and you'd think I'd learn how to handle it better considering I fuck up and miss the ball all the time. But I'm really getting sick and tired of this shit. I can't seem to get it right, and I don't know what to do about it besides whine on my pathetic little blog.

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