I have now taught two separate teenagers to drive.

And I’m still alive to tell the tale!

Buddy finally passed his driving test – YAY!!

I spent more time at the DMV than any human, other than the soulless creatures that work there, should have to endure!

The first trip to the DMV was after a six week wait.  No longer can parents just walk in with their kiddo and just expect to take a driving test.  No, you have to sign up.  Online.  Before the child even signs up for driving lessons.

Dharma, Greg – start looking for a slot for your little one!  You might be able to get an appointment for her 16th birthday in 14 years if you sign-up now.

Show up early for the appointment…..get called back an hour after the appointment slot.  I think they’re taking lessons from doctor’s offices now.

All of the proper instruction/lesson paperwork is in place.  Check.

Get in line to take the driving test.  Check.

Vehicle inspection…..

Failed

Dammit!!!  Same thing happened at my driving test 25+ years ago.  My parent’s vehicle failed because it didn’t have a front license plate.  Buddy borrowed Grandpa’s truck (my Dad) and the third brake light was out.

I’m sensing a pattern here…..

Beg the bored DMV worker that if I can get it fixed ASAP, can we come back?  Sure…if you can be back in 15 minutes.

Zoom to the nearest Wal-mart; all the while begging Buddy not to drive like I was driving during his test.

Get back in line…another inspection….a different DMV tester….”Uh…ma’am?  Did you know the insurance card is expired?”

WHAT….THE….F….!?!  The first tester couldn’t have told me that?  Really?!  REALLY?!?

Livid.  I was LIVID. We spent almost 3 hours at the DMV only to walk away without even taking the driving test.

Check online again for a new appointment.  Six to eight weeks before another can be scheduled, depending on which of the two offices closest to us we chose to select.

Decide on a different tactic.  The next week, Buddy and I drove to a different DMV facility in another county, about an hour’s drive away.  This facility doesn’t do online appointments.

Walk into the facility, only to be greeted with large sign that stated, “No walk-in driving tests today.”

Crap.

Talk to the bored DMV worker at the desk – when CAN we show up for a driving test?  She pulls out a tattered spiral scheduling book and flips it open (I swear I saw dust puff out when she plopped it on the desk).

Two weeks from today – SIGN US UP!

Patiently waited the two weeks and drove the hour drive back to the Podunk DMV office with Buddy.

Buddy gets in line.  Finally, it’s his turn to test.

Something’s not right.  He looked confused and they haven’t even gotten out of the parking lot yet.  He finished the test about 20 minutes later.  Buddy walks up to me, grim look on his face.

Failed

Turned into on-coming traffic.  I told Buddy that you can’t pass if you scare the crap out of the instructor.

We can laugh about it now, but we were both really disappointed that morning.  Go back into the building.  Talk to the same bored DMV worker, same dusty schedule book, reschedule for another two weeks out.

Spent the next fourteen days making sure Buddy understood everything expected of him from the point of view of the tester.

Morning of the third test finally came.  Drive back to the hick-county DMV.  Get back in line.  Speak encouraging words to Buddy, trying to calm my own nerves.  Tester comes up, I get out of vehicle and walk away instead of watching.

About 20 minutes later, Buddy pulls into the parking lot.  I watch him walk from the truck to where I’m standing in front of the building.

I’m enveloped in a huge bear-hug.

He PASSED!!!  WOOHOO!!  YIPEE!!  HIP-HIP-HOORAY!!

We went back to the house for him to drive my Suburban to school for the remaining school day.  That was an emotional sight for me…..

Driving away into adulthood.

Driving away into adulthood.

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