Thursday, May 21, 2015

World Turning

Another part of my youth is history.

I mean, forget about growing up with a milkman (Mr. Ollie of Greenspring Dairy) delivering milk to our house when I was a child, forget about bringing home a live baby chick in second grade (as all second graders did after watching them incubate and hatch in class), forget about being allowed to walk home unattended from elementary school for lunch.

All small potatoes.

The Maryland DMV has eliminated the parallel parking test from its field driving test. Yes, yes, I understand that Virginia and D.C. had already axed it, but I clung to hope that Maryland, where I'd taken my driver's license test, was better than that. Nope.

My Richmond grandfather, then living with us, went with me to take my test, he in the passenger seat of his sporty 1973 Plymouth Duster and me at the wheel. He never doubted for a second that I'd pass my test with flying colors and I did. Even the parallel parking part, which didn't come nearly as easily to me then as it does now after decades of city living.

According to the Washington Post, and, yes, I still read an actual newspaper (go look it up, kids), the DMV is eliminating the test because it's redundant. New drivers have to do a two-point back up and they claim that covers the same skill set. Bull feathers. Popular consensus among driving instructors is that it's the back log of people wanting to take their driver's test that was the motivation for change.

Here's where I start sounding like an old person. First we don't require drivers to parallel park and next, what, we don't require them to learn how to downshift on a steep slope? Merge? Maybe we no longer bother teaching them to steer into a skid and see how that goes.

It's a slippery slope when kids are only expected to display the most rudimentary driving abilities to get a license that puts them in traffic with the rest of the world.

My grandfather would be appalled. But then, he began his career as a milkman for Richmond Dairy by driving a horse-drawn wagon, a far cry from that '73 Duster he used to cruise around in.

Looks like the adaptations over my life span will be just as dramatic...says the woman who wasn't allowed to wear pants to school until she was in the 10th grade and now seldom wears anyhing but skirts and dresses.

Ah, progress

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