Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm Still at Large

Get this, folks: it is illegal at all times to smoke inside a motor vehicle when a person younger than 18 is with you.

That's California law. You knew? I did not. And so it cost me a point on the written exam for my driver's license renewal. More than three wrong and I would have had to take it again. But I got only three wrong, so I scraped through this P/NP course with a P.

Of my two others wrongs, one was just sloppiness. I read "cell phone without a hands-free device" and I checked "never." Had I read more closely, I would have seen that another choice was "when making a call for emergency assistance," which is obviously righter.

And finally--where do you look when you are backing out of a parking space? The correct answer is "over your right shoulder." I rejected that. I also rejected "at your rearview mirror." Instead I checked "at your side mirrors," but it seems to me that you really want to do "all of the above," plus look "over your left shoulder," as available. Sadly, "all of the above," was not an option. So, a poorly formulated question; but I had seen it before on a practice quiz, so it was my own fault it didn't get it right.

Thanks to the magic of cataract surgery, I also squeaked through the eye test without glasses, but it occurred to me: in the age of contact lenses, isn't that a joke? For all he knew, I was wearing my contacts this morning (but I wasn't) and would never wear them again--until, perhaps, my next eye test.

It does seem to that this test has gotten harder over the years. No, I know what you're thinking, but I don't think it is just me: I downloaded the manual which seems a lot thicker than it used to be, and I took a lot of practice quizzes, with a lot of lot of picky rules (not all of which, apparently, I mastered).

And that stuff about driving with minors--sheesh, of course it is a dumb idea to smoke with kids in the car. It's a dumb idea to smoke ever. I quit a long time ago (come to think of it, 50 years ago next week. But a motor vehicle law? Oh, give me a break. Stuff like that degrades law enforcement, and degrades the law.

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