Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What Has Frog Been Doing?

1. Getting her New Jersey driving license

How she did it: Waited and waited, procrastinating until the day before her Indian license and IDP were about to expire. Then spent a night reading the NJ motor vehicles manual, before running to the testing center in the morning. Took the knowledge test (multiple choice questions) and vision test (unless you're totally blind, this shouldn't be a stumbling block).

Aside: The cool thing about NJ is that if you have a long driving history in in some other country, and you pass your knowledge test OK, they can waive the road test - as they did in my case.

2. Digging her rental car out of 20 inches of snow.

Two and a half hours on a Sunday afternoon. Charming weekend. And to really provide us with a challenge worth sinking our teeth into, every hour or so, after all of us trying to liberate our cars had more or less cleared the snow behind it, the snow-plough would come back and push all the snow from the road into banks behind the cars.

3. Buying a car.

How she did it: She shopped around for weeks. She spoke to dealers, did some test drives, searched the web desparately for the cheapest cars, certified used cars at reasonable mileage and prices, and despaired. And finally, she walked into a dealership, test drove this one car, and said, OK, that's it, here's my cheque. Or, you know, here's 10 bucks, and I'll get a loan for the rest and come back and pick the car up.
So anyway, my 2006 Honda Civic LX will be with me on Monday! Woohoo!

4. Attendant hassles:

The problem is, when you buy the car, you need to buy insurance. And for these guys, no driving history in the US = no driving history whatsoever. (To be fair, perhaps records are not easy to access - and it's difficult to believe that there could be a driving record for each licensed driver in India. Still, in one's nastier moments, one tells oneself that this is the same mind-set that calls a national event "the world series".) Which means, high premiums. *sigh* But, the silver lining - the insurance business is not all about making money - there are caring insurance professionals out there. Like one guy Frog spoke with, who told her he wasn't comfortable giving her the NJ state minimum coverage because what if she got in a collision and got sued for more, and had to pay it all herself? No no, he'd feel really bad if that happened, knowing he'd OKed the coverage, and so he was going to give her higher coverage and (of course) charge her higher premiums. Frog almost broke down and cried, at how this individual was shattering all myths about insurance professionals. Then she told him where he could put his premiums and rung off.

5. Traveling. Like fury.

Hurrying from meeting to meeting, whirling across the east coast like a ... well, hurricane, she guesses.
See also: waiting around at airports for delayed flights, waiting around at airports for someone to provide some information about whether the flight I'm scheduled to take is just delayed, or has disappeared into the blue, waiting on board flights for delayed take-off, waiting on flights circling airports to be cleared to land, waiting at airports for connecting trains. NB: A margarita, taken just at the point where the waiting is beginning to climb over the hill of bearability and grab you by the throat, preparatory to making you grab someone else by the collar, is wonderfully calming!


Nandu said...

Well, well.....so you have a new car!! Us Honda Civic drivers need to hang together more often....:)

maverick said...

congrats on the new-old car! Third person references...hmmmm.

akr said...

congrats on the car- you must have it by now! :)

yesbob said...

ah! wheels. and wings. staying put is overrated.

progga said...

Yesbob, how true thou sayest. I always wanted to drive down a long straight highway in the rain, blaring "Going Home" (the Alchemy version) on the stereo. Here I come, NJ Turnpike.

Maverick: third person references are as in royalty. Imminent megalomania.

Nandu: birds of a feather, et al.

AKR: Danke. :)

Popat said...

Congrats, Progga. Though the speed with which you got your license brought a tear to my eye... Brittania awarded me mine own after two and a half years of toil, including two (or was it three?) failed tests... Sob. I blame the Delhi Blueline bus drivers for having ruined my driving, er, "skills".. .

Prerona said...

Hello! I wonder if this is who I think it is? Nice blog btw. Came here from Srirupa's

progga said...

Poppet, someone told me that to get a UK license, you have to be able to open up the bonnet of the car and identify all the parts under it. OUCH!!! And are you claiming to have been a driver on the Blueline?!

Prero! This is a surprise. Kothaye? Kemon?

And thanks, all. Bootle has arrived home, been petted and admired by all and sundry, and handles beautifully.

Prerona said...

Will we be treated to a pic? Edinburgh ... at the moment. Bhaalo :)

progga said...

Edinburgh? Ki? Kar jonne / shathe? Perhaps this discussion should just be taken offline! I'll mail you!