Having passed the notoriously difficult written portion of the test for my French driver’s license a few weeks ago and spent several further hours behind the wheel with an instructor from the driving school by my side, I was finally able to take my road test this morning. It was nerve-wracking, as I’d anticipated. I was mentally prepared for either of two outcomes: I pass and get my license, or I fail, take more lessons, and try the test again in a few weeks. Of course I hoped very much to pass, but given how unusual (from my perspective) the French traffic laws and expected driver behavior are, I accepted the possibility that I wouldn’t please the inspector on my first try. What I was completely unprepared for was what actually happened. I finished the course—having performed, I felt, generally quite well (though with a couple of minor flubs)—only to have the inspector tell me that she’d send me the results of my exam by mail.
What…seriously? After all this anticipation and anxiety, I don’t even get a thumbs-up or thumbs-down at the end? Amazing but true. I have to wait for an envelope in my mailbox (supposedly as early as Monday) with the good or bad news. Geez.
I think I passed. I was feeling good vibes from the inspector (95% of the time, anyway) and from my instructor—who sat in the backseat the whole time, ostensibly to translate, though in fact she barely said two words throughout the whole test. (Luckily, I have mastered the French expressions for “turn right,” “turn left,” “go straight,” and “park here,” which comprised the bulk of the instructions given during the exam.) But I don’t really know; the things I perceived as “oh-by-the-way-look-out-for-this” kinds of reminders may have been intended as “you-idiot-anyone-who-misses-this-obvious-thing-fails-instantly.” I guess I’ll find out in a few days.
Update (January 5, 2008): I passed!