Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not the Most Boring Day in My Life

Today I took the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Course for the Point and Insurance Reduction Program. Shit, the name of the class can put you to sleep. Wait, more... The timing of these classes is generally set up for "after work" or weekends. This does not help me. My "after work" time and weekends is dedicated to my kids. I looked at the list of course provides:

For more information, read the DMV brochure, The Point and Insurance Reduction Program, and see the list of course providers below.

Course Provider Phone Number Web Site
National Safety Council (800) 962-3434
American Association of Retired Persons (888) 227-7669
National Traffic Safety Institute (866) 719-3735

Many Many more....

I stopped at the third one; AARP Retired People . They don't want to go out at night to save money on insurance... They can't even drive at night. I called them. Their website said call... No online registration process. They have them all the time, all over the place. 9 to 5 . I am not in AARP, no problem. Just get a money order for $14.00 (no checks, no credit cards, no cash).

So this morning I went to the Rosetta Gaston Senior Center in Brownsville Brooklyn. Just 22 minutes away on the 3 train. How could I be board? Spending a day at a Senior Center in Brownsville was anything but boring.

First of all it was sweet. Yes, sweet. At 9am the small concrete building was full of local seniors who were there for breakfast. I think a lot of the regulars made a point of showing up today because we (the driver safety class) were there. The members of this club were happy to have visitors. I was offered a pen. I got the impression that seating in the lobby was saved for us on this special day. Wow.

The only bad part of the day was the registration process. It was made clear to me that none of the people taking this class could be trusted with their own paperwork. The instructor did not trust us to put our address on forms. It was clear to me at the end of the day that she was correct.

I am not bragging. I did not learn anything new about driving. Maybe some people did, I did not. I was reminded of a fact of life: In every class there is at least one jerk. Why the hell would you argue you point over driving regulations with the instructor. Even if you are correct, who cares! The sooner she gets through her agenda, the sooner we go home. What ever, big bag of whatever, the 8 hour class still only took 6 and a half hours.

Lots of stuff was going on at the Senior Center. Right away we received an apology because the room we were in was next door to the pool room, were the rowdy seniors were shooting pool, playing dominoes and having a crazy game of Bingo. I ain't making this stuff up.

We were also told that there was no place close to eat lunch, but they would make us lunch for $2. The Director of the Center came in and told us the daily menu. We could have salad, baked chicken, zucchini, spaghetti in tomato sauce, tea and a fruit cup. We passed our $2 forward and were given cards that we could redeem for lunch.

At 11am the room started to smell like cafeteria. At 12:00 the chief came in and told us the food would be ready in 10 minuets. Thirty seconds later a food server came in and stooped the class's to say the food was ready. The food was served to us the same way medicine was distributed by Nurse Ratched in One flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But it was good food, a balanced meal. For me the alternative would have been a crappy fast food meal at 5 times the cost. There were also a hundred other people in the room. This was probably their only meal of the day and they only reason they had to go out.

There was one point in the class where we looked at our work book and had to identify 10 traffic signs. They were in black and white and had no words. They were multiple choice questions. I took me about a minute. The instructor notices that I was done fast and she challenged me to stand up and give my answers. I got the second one wrong (how many railroad crossing sings do you encounter in Brooklyn?). I blasted thought the rest all correctly. The instructor congratulated me, she said nobody ever got them all correct before. What does that mean? Are all these classes full of people who do not know the signs? We are all licensed divers, we should know this stuff. But I got one wrong. What ever, big bag of whatever....

I am gonna save %10 of the liability portion of my car insurance for the next 3 years.


  1. Michael, sounds like you were
    the star of the class, and of
    course you passed with flying
    colors....way to go

  2. To pass, all I had to to was be there when it ended.

  3. I am falling asleep just reading about this class -haha...


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