Monday, May 01, 2006

Test

The best part about blogs is the ability to infiltrate and spy on someone's life. Maybe you know him, maybe you don't, but you don't have to apologize for your Rear Window-like desire to know what's going on behind the shades. With these anonymous readers in mind, I write.

I finally took my taxi driver test on Friday. After 24 hours of taxi class (perhaps I'll rewind and talk about this later), you would have thought I would be prepared for the rigors of a 50 question, multiple choice test. But I was shitting bricks the night before. Simply put, I don't know anything about the outer boroughs. OK, I know more than you, but less than all these Pakistanis who live in Queens and study six hours a night. In fact, I was so nervous heading into the test that I was actually trepidacious about the English Language section of the test. Yes, a native born, white American was scared that he might not be as fluent as your most recent cab driver. Needless to say, these fears were misplaced.

I turned up bright and early Friday morning to Master Cabbie cab school to take the test with about fifty other gentlemen (and one woman). I had actually taken my classes at Laguardia Community College, but they had a fucking month long wait for their test. In case you're keeping track, yes I have dropped out of Yale to take classes at Laguardia Community College in fabulous Long Island City, Queens. The guy who ran Master Cabbie took us through an hour long review session, for which I was thankful. But at that point, I was still concerned about my chances. To pass, I'd need to get 35 questions correct out of 50. Now, the first ten we get to answer with the aide of a map. We had 45 minutes mandatorially allotted to answer these ten question. Yes, that is correct. You'd be surprised how difficult some of these guys in school found the map reading part of the exam. The process of looking up a street in the index, finding the map and grid number, and finally finding the street was real alien to them -- especially the West Africans. Oh, in case you're wondering, the ethnic make up of all of this was about 30% West African (I gathered since they were speaking French), 65% Middle Eastern or South Asian (I was pretty convinced that I identified some Turks), and the rest was other. Just in case you're curious. Anyway, for some of these guys this was a challenge, but I think I got these ten questions. Best of all, it gave me about 40 minutes of review before the tough part began.

This time alone also gave me an opportunity to engage in some semi-legal cheating. The test had those full Stop pages between the sections, but if I pressed down on the sheet, I could see through and read about six questions and use the map I had in my hands to answer them. Now for most of the questions I saw, this was really unnecessary. E.g., where is the Chrysler Building? But fittingly enough, the one I kind of did need, I completely blanked when I turned the page, meaning I have never successfully cheated on an exam. That question I need was: which bridge is at the western end of West Fordham Rd? The two reasonable options were the Washington Bridge and the University Heights Bridge. I checked in the map, saw it was the latter, then promptly forgot when I turned the page. In the end, I bubbled Washington Bridge which is south of W. Fordham Rd.

However, the rest of the test was a bit easier. Where is Times Sq? Between which North-South running streets is Central Park? The best thing for me was the emphasis on rules and regulations in the test. These rules are in a little book we got in taxi school, and all one would need to do to basically memorize all of them is to read the book through twice. Difficult if your grasp on English is tenuous, but really too easy for me. At the end of the exam, I calculated I had about 40 questions I was almost certain about, with a few more I thought were right. Not a brilliant performance, but I'd be surprised if I fail. Results on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

Should that come back positive, I would supposedly receive my hack license (# 5227191, if you want to make a complaint) in ten days through the mail. A hop, skip and a jump would take me to the two Brooklyn garages near me (Susan and J & I) and into a cab!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home