Do you know the story about Cha San-soon (차산순 할머니) Grandmother? She took the Korean driver’s license exam 749 times and failed. On the 750th time she passed. She spent close to $10,000 dollars and almost a decade of her life riding a series of buses to the driver’s license center so that she could go through the process again, and again, and again. She was heralded in newspapers and on TV throughout the world, and Hyundai gave her a new car. I used to make fun of her. Not anymore.
That’s because I took the driver’s test and failed. (My boss, who wants me to get a driver’s license so I can schlepp her students around in a Hyundai Starex van the size of a battleship, had this to say. “Just memorize. Memorize, memorize, memorize. That is the best way to pass the test.”)
It helps to study. So, I downloaded the sample questions, provided courtesy of the good folk at the driver’s license center, and studied. And I passed. And then promptly failed the practical (actual driving part) part of the exam.
I remember getting my driver’s license in Texas more than 30 years ago. A guy took me around the parking lot for a spin in this huge tank of a car, a Ford station wagon that my mom bought for me. It was big enough to sleep sideways in (hey, I think we did that too!). About two hours later, and 20 dollars poorer, I walked away with my Texas driver’s license, what all ‘mericans reach for when the cops aks (sic) to see some “EYE D.” I remember a joint falling down from behind the sunvisor right after the trooper left the front seat. Talk about perfect timing!
Do I really want to drive in this country? Or any country, for that matter? That is the 64 million dollar question. As long as I keep failing (as of late November, 2014, I have passed the written test and short driving test, however the long driving test I failed. I will take it again in a few days) the driving test, I will have a good excuse not to drive. Perhaps that should be my strategy.
This is one of the enigmas of society. How can a country that puts so much importance on passing a test, fail in teaching its citizens to learn how to drive?
Here then, is a picture of a car that drove off the edge of the road at Chuam Beach, sometime in July, 2012.