Day Six: Testing Setback
December 14, 1999
After studying diligently over the weekend, I walked into class primed to be tested, only to hear that the Pennsylvania testing office is closed on Mondays.
I also learned my license could not be enhanced at that site for the endorsements but would have to be sent back to the state capitol and I now have to wait another week to take the endorsement tests. The tests of general knowledge and air brakes will proceed tomorrow afternoon.
Having swallowed that bitter pill, I buckled down and went to work. Our morning lessons concentrated on backing and turning. Then, to ensure all the material we had covered in the last week was soundly cemented to our cerebrums, my classmates and I ground through a battery of tests lasting the rest of the day and totaling somewhere around 450-plus questions. On the final 104 questions I missed only three.
The drive home was wet, cold, nasty. I watched how the trucks handled themselves in the rain. Most followed the rules, increasing their following distances, reducing their speed. I wondered if I, too, would be able handle a rig in this weather.
Feeling drained to the core, I pulled into the turnpike exit toll booth. A nice old lady works one of the booths. She knows me from my traveling and never fails to say hello. Last week when she saw I was driving a car instead of the (RoadSTAR) van, she asked what I was up to and I told her.
Her face lit up from the inside out. “I used to drive a truck. U.S. Mail,” she told me, “I loved it.” She wished me good luck.
Tonight I was in her lane. She was wearing Christmas troll earrings. On her, the furry green elves looked cute.
“How did you like driving in the rain?” I asked her. “Oh I loved it all, in the rain, the snow. Didn’t matter. I just enjoyed doing it so much,” she replied, handing me back my change and receipt.
I was smiling too as I pulled away. “Thanks,” I thought, “That’s just what I needed to hear tonight.”