Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Driver's Ed Redux

I got the notice in the mail a few weeks back: attend a driving retraining course in the next three months of my license would be suspended.

Until recently, I had gone 12 years without a moving violation. But this year, the law of averages caught up to me. I got dinged for driving with an expired inspection sticker and two speeding tickets. The second speeding ticket was the most frustrating; it was right before my moving hell and a police cruiser nailed me once the speed limit dropped from 35 to 25 mph because I was doing 40. Thus, with three within the span of a year, the state of Massachusetts requires me to attend a driving course. (It used to be five, but apparently Massachusetts has a reputation for not having the most courteous drivers and the state is trying to crack down.)

I had to get up this past Saturday at 7 a.m. to go to a hotel and attend the course. Not fun. There were better uses of my time. That said, some of the questions were amusing.

We each filled out a survey asking how we felt about the following statements:

"Other drivers are opponents who are trying to slow me down."

"I force my way through groups of pedestrians when making a turn at a crosswalk."

"I scare pedestrians by revving up my motor at intersections."

We watched videos of bad drivers bitching each other out. We watched another video of people driving drunk and (presumably) getting into a four- or five-car accident. We were asked "Do you want to keep your driving privileges?"

But the most bizarre part of the day came near the end, after a break, when the guy next to me and the guy behind me almost got into a fistfight and had to be separated. I have no idea what it was about (I was out getting a snack when it happens). Defensive driving, indeed.

I went home that afternoon and drove pretty much the way I normally do. Now life has returned to normal.

Just watch yourself if you're on the road with me. Because you are my opponent, and you're trying to slow me down.

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