Here, this will be fun. Try these questions and check the answers in parentheses. No cheating!
You are driving on a very narrow road and can see 50m ahead. What must be your maximum stopping distance? (25m)
You are traveling at 60 km/hr, what is your braking distance? (36 m)
Is a load allowed to project over the front of a vehicle? (Yes, if the load does not project more than 50 cm to the front and is above a height of 2.5 m.)
A single-axle trailer has an actual weight of 600kg. What must be the minimum load on the trailer coupling of the car? (24kg)
What must you know about catalytic converters? (WTF)
So, now you know what I haven’t written much lately. When I have free moments, I’m studying for the German driving test. Besides memorizing various formulas for this test, we are expected to know hundreds of road signs that often have complex and compound meanings. Check this site out if you want to witness the menagerie of signage they have here http://www.gettingaroundgermany.info/zeichen.htm.
How I wish I was an EU citizen and didn’t have to sit for this exam. Then again, I feel fortunate because my North Carolina license means I only have to take the written portion. It’s the hardest part but at least I don’t have to bother with a road test and a CPR course like my friend Charlene, who moved here from California. Officially, we have 6 months from arrival to get this done but since Gary and I have pushed off this task until the last moment, we need to pass this thing or else. I’ve heard several accounts of people failing it the first time. The only test I’ve failed was in 5th grade History in Mr. Sisti’s class. I had just transferred to a new school because my parents noticed that I was getting straight As at my other school without much effort. In fact, my teacher had me grading other kids’ papers. Enter Mr. Sisti who kicked my butt. So, that experience instilled the fear of failure which has propelled me to this moment. Anyhoo, don’t ask me if I’ve passed this. I’ll let you know. And, if you see me logging onto facebook too much, shoo me back into my studies.
I must confess though. That’s not the only thing I’ve been doing. I’ve fallen in love with Apple TV. Ever since Gary brought it back from a Stateside trip in October, it’s been a great connection back to the world of favorite shows and new movies. We’ve had a marathon catching up on “Mad Men” and “Entourage.” Besides that, we are not completely deprived here. There is an English language theater in Frankfurt which I’ve been to a couple times. It’s a dump but good enough, if you want the theater experience. I finally saw “The Hangover” there. So funny, gross, and sweet.
One last thing about the driving test. The owner of the driving school, Herr Brauer, who is handling all our bureaucratic issues with this (trust me, there are many) has stopped by our house a few times to pick up and drop off various documents. I noticed his English was so good that he understood all of our slang. I asked him how he learned English and “Frank Zappa” was his reply. Back in the day, Herr Brauer was such a big fan of Zappa that he decided he wanted to understand all of the musician’s lyrics. So he set forth on translating all of them. “His language is quite complex,” Herr Brauer remarked.