It’s called different things in different states. The Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Condescending Slowness. Regardless, nobody likes to go there. Yet we must. A couple Fridays ago, I took Rye to get her learner’s permit. Yes America, one of my offspring is legally allowed to be on the road behind the wheel of thousands of pounds of steel. Oh and when you start running down the things that make stare your age right in the face, getting a learner’s permit for your child is right up there with not understanding the appeal of the Buccaneers new uniforms or realizing that Purple Rain is 30 years old.
Not a misprint. 30 years. Other things that are 30 years old? Ren’s battle with Reverend Moore for the right to dance in Bomont.
Anyway, the bonus was that it only took about 90 minutes to get the damn thing. Which, if your’re prepared for it, isn’t that bad. Plus there were plenty of seats for us to occupy while we waited. Because that’s what you do for nearly the entire time you’re there. You wait. You wait in line to get into the place, then you wait in your seat until they call your number, then you go back to your seat while your 14 year old daughter takes a written test, then you wait until they call your name in order to ask your daughter several questions before they can approve her for the learner’s permit. One of those questions for Rye was, “Do you have any mental problems?”
Umm…does butter fly? Does a picket fence? Did Falco once ask alles klar, Herr Kommissar?
I mean how are you supposed to honestly answer this question? Do you mean diagnosed problems? Well, no, but dude, she’s a 14 year girl. Mental problems are a daily thing. Like spandex pants in a David Lee Roth video. But just to keep the system moving, I confirmed her “No” as the correct answer. You don’t want to be the guy that slows down the efficiency of the Driver’s License system. It’s a well-oiled bureaucratic symphony. Thankfully once you are done with all the questions they finally, finally give a paper copy of the permit. The real permit won’t arrive in the mail for a couple weeks.
But that means she can drive legally with us in the car. So on the following Saturday morning we did just that. And we had a good time. Mostly because I stopped and bought donuts. And a 44 oz. Diet Pepsi. And that my friends makes everything better. We drove around our neighborhood. It was here when I discovered that at this point in her development, Rye needs to warm up. You can’t just ask her to back out of the driveway or to navigate major streets cold. She needs a little time to acclimate to the vehicle. How did I realize this? She tried to take a turn at nearly 40 mph. Lesson learned.
After that we kinda developed our own little course which was essentially a large rough triangle of roads. Inside said triangle she had pretty much free reign. But once we hit the major roads on the edges of the triangle, I limited her to right turns. What? No left turns is a good strategy for beginning drivers. We’re trying to build confidence. For both of us…