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You Don't Know Jack Adkins

Jump to Denise Feldman Reynolds' profileDriving Her Crazy
Snow White meets the Evil Queen

by Denise Feldman Reynolds, class of 1975
August 3, 2006

I should have known we were in trouble.

The moment I laid eyes on her, I should have known. She had that self-righteous air of superiority about her, her importance underscored by a highly starched polyester uniform, oversized clipboard, and lanyard credentials. Her steel-toed shoes clicked on the pavement as she walked. She was unattractive, with a stocky build, short-cropped dark hair, and a permanent scowl that she wore as if it were a medal of valor.

My daughter was doomed. A stunning sixteen-year-old beauty with long hazelnut hair, an innocent smile, and a body that turns heads wherever she goes, she was destined to play Snow White to this woman’s Evil Queen.

And so it went. Examiner Roosevelt was her name, although Examiner Stalin would have been a more appropriate moniker. Deciding who passes and who fails their driving permit road test is an important job, no doubt. But I got the feeling that this woman would have been more satisfied if she had been able to pronounce life and death sentences instead of merely passing or failing driver’s license applicants.

Snow White was waiting in her car, as instructed, when the Evil Queen approached and tapped on her window.

“Get out of the car,” she said roughly, as if she were arresting my daughter. Snow White got out of the car, confused as to why she was being ordered about.

“Turn off the car,” demanded the Evil Queen. Still befuddled, Snow White complied.

“Get back in the car,” barked the Evil Queen. Again, Snow White did as she was told.

“Turn the key, but don’t start the car,” the Evil Queen continued to snap at her, “Step on the brake. Put on your right turn signal. Put on the left.” Temporarily appeased, the Evil Queen marched around to the passenger side of the car.

“Open the door,” she said, rapping on the front window.

Snow White checked to be sure the door was unlocked, and sheepishly replied, “It’s unlocked.”

This simple act of politely stating the obvious was apparently a mistake.

“I said open the door!” the Evil Queen yelled.

Snow White dutifully reached across the console, lifting the handle to release the door, pushing it gently open.

“What’s wrong with the door?” the Evil Queen continued to interrogate her.

“I’m sorry you had trouble. It must have been stuck,” Snow White said sweetly. What she really wanted to say was that any idiot could open an unlocked car door.

“Put the car in reverse,” the Evil Queen instructed. Snow White responded immediately. Of course, since the car had not been restarted, doing this made no sense to her, but she obeyed.

“Start the car first,” said the Evil Queen, obviously irritated.

And so it went.

After a rocky start, things got momentarily better when Snow White nailed the parking assignment, pulling into the space perfectly without so much as grazing a single one of the six orange plastic cones that tightly surrounded the narrow test space. But the Evil Queen was not easily placated.

“If you had a curb on your right side and were parking on a hill, what would you do?” she cross-examined Snow White.

“I would turn my wheels toward the curb, if I was parking on a downward-facing hill,” replied Snow White.

The Evil Queen reveled in the profound silence she was creating by her non-reply. After what seemed like an eternity, she told Snow White to back out. The exam continued, with all the solemnity of a state funeral procession.

After they had been on the road for a minute or so, the Evil Queen ordered Snow White to do a turnabout. Suspicious that she was being tricked, Snow White asked for clarification, “Right here, in the middle of the road?”

“Yes,” replied the Evil Queen tartly. “Don’t leave the pavement.”

Admittedly, Snow White was baffled by her request. She knew that doing a three-point turn in a two-lane road was against the law. And she also knew that she was not supposed to be asked to do anything illegal. She didn’t want to argue with the Evil Queen. She was already subject to her unending wrath.

“I don’t know what you want me to do,” Snow White replied.

“Did you even practice at all?” wailed the Evil Queen.

Snow White fought back the tears. Of course she had practiced. And studied. And she was ready. She would have sailed through this routine if it weren’t for the Evil Queen.

As they continued on, Snow White was reprimanded for stopping at a stop sign.

“Why did you stop there?” the Evil Queen badgered her.

“Because there is a stop sign,” Snow White replied.

“That sign doesn’t apply to you,” continued the Evil Queen. “See, it’s twisted around from the hurricane. That sign is for the drivers coming from THAT street,” she pronounced, her gnarled finger pointing at the cross street.

A few minutes later, when the road narrowed from two eastbound lanes into one, Snow White put on her turn signal as she moved over.

“Why are you using your turn signal?” the Evil Queen demanded.

“Because I am merging to the left,” Snow White replied.

“You’re not merging, the ROAD is merging,” insisted the Evil Queen.

Finally, mercifully, they returned to the parking lot where they had begun. The Evil Queen exited the car and informed Snow White that she had not met the minimum requirements to pass the exam.

“There are four things you do when you are parking on a hill,” she said insistently. “First, you turn your wheels toward the curb. Second, you put on the parking brake. Third, you put the car in park. And fourth, you turn off the ignition.”

The Evil Queen stomped off, waving her clipboard in the air as if she were casting an evil spell on Snow White.

Tears streamed down Snow White’s face. She walked over to me, her body quietly heaving with sobs.

She’s led a pretty sheltered life. She’s not used to dealing with villains.

At least she wasn’t forced to eat a poisoned apple.


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