Monday, January 21, 2008

more signs that the universe is conspiring against me




So despite all my God-given inclinations to stay out of those tin death-boxes forever, opting instead to walk or bike or scoot or whatever--I really do need to learn how to drive. I don't want to, but I have to. It's like the dentist. But without that plastic-y smell. Oh wait, cars have that smell too. Can someone explain to me why people spray that new car smell in their cars ON PURPOSE? Attention, people, that's the smell of mutagenic plastic polymers altering your DNA! Nor does it smell good! Carry on.

Anyway, I called this driving school this weekend to get a package and set up my first lesson for this morning. I told them to give me the earliest possible lesson (thus to be minimally disruptive to my busy and productive day), and they told me that someone could pick me up at 10:00am. I don't think that 10:00am is particularly early, but fine, whatever. Twenty minutes after I hang up with the driving school secretary, she calls me back.


DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Michelle? Instead of the lesson from 10:00 to 11:00am, could you
take a lesson from 12:00 to 1:00pm? With Ray?

MICHELLE
Um...I could...but why?

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Since this is your first lesson, we thought it would be good for you
to be with Ray. He is our most requested instructor.

MICHELLE
Well...if you think that's best.

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
(Fervently)
I do.

MICHELLE
Well, fine then. 12:00 to 1:00pm with Ray.

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Wait for him outside your building at 12:00pm on the dot. And bring your learner's permit!

MICHELLE
Will do.


You know I am very obedient, right? Well, I am. I am very obedient and law-obeying and I always finish my full course of antibiotics, even if I'm feeling better. So this morning, I was waiting in the lobby of my building ten minutes early for my driving lesson. I waited. I waited for a long time. Yet in that half hour of waiting, not one car with flashing lights and neon yellow signs blaring STUDENT DRIVER pulled up in front of my building. Finally, I called the driving school demanding to know where the hell was this popular, requested "Ray."


DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Did you buy your driving lesson package yesterday?

MICHELLE
No, two days ago.

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
On Saturday? What time?

MICHELLE
What time? I don't know. In the afternoon sometime.

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
(Dismayed.)
Oh.

MICHELLE
Is there a problem with that?

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Well, you see...Ray is out of town right now.

MICHELLE
Ray is...what?

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Ray is not in the city. They must not have logged your lesson with him until late, and he doesn't check his Google [I think she meant his e-mail - ed.] after 6:00pm. So he left town. I'm sorry.

MICHELLE
(Reflexively)
It's OK.

MICHELLE'S INNER MONOLOGUE
What do you mean "it's OK," you idiot? She just wrecked your whole day off!

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
He must not have gotten the notice about your lesson. He was leaving the city.

MICHELLE
Well, the thing that kills me about this is that you guys specifically 
wanted to schedule me for a lesson with this guy! I had a lesson for someone else
and you guys called me back to put me with Ray! Who isn't even here!

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Would you like to reschedule for tomorrow?

MICHELLE
I have to go to work tomorrow. I can only take driving lessons on the weekends.
During the very little spare time that I have off.

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
Why don't we schedule your next lesson. How's next Sunday, at 8:00am?

MICHELLE
Fine. Whatever. Schedule it. 

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
8:00am is not too early for you on a Sunday?  Ah ha ha ha!

MICHELLE'S INNER MONOLOGUE
I wake up at 4:55am every morning, Lady, so don't talk to me about "too early."

MICHELLE
No.

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
OK, next Sunday, 8:00 to 9:00am.

MICHELLE
Will this be with Ray again?

DRIVING SCHOOL LADY
(Flipping through schedule)
No, this lesson will be with...Jay.

MICHELLE
You're kidding, right?



So anyway, now I have Driver's Ed scheduled for the next four weekends. It is as though I have four consecutive weeks of dental surgery coming up, that's how excited I am about this. I have better things to do with my time than sit in my lobby waiting to be stood up by a driving instructor. And if I ever meet this guy Ray, I'm going to kick him in the nuts.

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