Rules Are Made To Be Broken

So this past weekend, the BF and I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course. Which — ahem — was overpriced, and the scheduling was a pain, both getting into a class as well as the actual class schedule. I had to give up an entire weekend and be up at 5:30 a.m. for a class that started at 7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. That’s a pretty tall order for this night owl!
But this isn’t about the motorcycle class. Not really.
At the end of the class there’s a little skills test. If you pass the test (in many states, including here in Cali) you get a fancy-schmancy official form to take to the DMV that waives the riding test requirement for your motorcycle license. So a lot of people take the class because they feel, or have been told, that passing it is easier than passing the riding test at the DMV. A lot of people also take the class because it’s highly recommended for learning riding skills that are important for safe riding — but mostly, they want to get their license.
The class had been highly recommended by several people I know, so I sucked it up and suffered through two sunrises in a row for it.
So there we are, late Sunday morning as the temps rose to triple digits, sitting on these cute little motorcycles that the class provides, with helmets on, squinting into the sun on a big island of black top nestled between the runway of the local airport and Highway 99, all lined up for our test.
The rules were read. In no uncertain terms, the rules specified that there were only the things one could do during this test that would result in immediate failure and being removed from the course: 1) intentionally dong anything “unsafe” and 2) dropping the bike.
So when one of my fellow classmates dumped the cute little bike sideways and let the gas tank kiss the cement you could feel the collective breath-holding of the other 11 students.
And when the instructors told him to pick up the bike and continue — wait! Continue? He gets to go on with the test? Did we hallucinate that drop? Maybe I didn’t quite understand the words, “Dropping the bike will result in disqualification and you will be asked to leave.”
All I know is that as I watched him pick it up and go on I said to myself, “Don’t tell me it’s going to be just like the State Board.”
I was told the same thing at the beginning of my State Board practical exam: If anyone had forgotten any item, they were out. Done. Fail. You could not leave the examining room to go get anything. You could not borrow it from anyone else. You were told what you needed; it was your responsibility to make sure you had it.
So when the clock was started and one guy piped up that he had forgotten his alcohol, we all expected the proctor to say, “Sorry bub, you’re SOL.” NOT stop and reset the clock and let him get up, leave the building, run to his car, and get his alcohol.
Yeah, the guy who dropped the bike passed the test. And yeah, the guy who forgot his alcohol passed his state board.
I can’t imagine where people get the idea that rules mean nothing.

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