Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Try Number Two

Son Number Two is getting close to being off the Christmas list. He’s making me go to the DMV more than I should have to. The DMV! That’s almost grounds for being kicked out of the house.

Because we just love inordinately high auto insurance premiums, we’re going to let him get his driver’s license and have two teenage boys on our policy. Son Number Three has already been informed that he needs to either win the lottery or help me rob a bank before he can be the third teen driver.

Anyway, Number Two just turned 15-1/2, and off we went last week to the DMV to take his written test and get his learner’s permit. While I appreciate any government organization’s efforts to make sure you are a legal citizen, the DMV’s system for getting a teen driver’s license is a little over the top.

As the parent, I should simply be able to show my official documentation that I am who I say I am, and then tell you who this kid is. That should be the end of it. That would make sense. Instead, we have to prove that the kid standing next to me was actually born, and then prove that he lives with me, and then prove that we both live in California. OK, fine, but without any sort of official photo identification for the kid, there is a certain level of guessing still happening on the DMV’s part. I mean, without photo ID, I could take your kid in and pretend they’re mine.

But when the kid actually has official photo ID, in the form of a valid U.S. passport, why the hell would Shirley behind the counter with her ridiculous cat pictures on her coffee mug care for even half a second whether the birth certificate that matches the name on the freakin’ passport is a photocopy or not!?!

But I digress…

Shirley’s supervisor was able to find “a workaround” to a problem that never existed in the first place, and the paperwork was filed. The $38.00 was paid, and it was time to get Son Number Two his permit. Just need to head over to those computers and handle that written test.

Twenty minutes later, Number Two found me in my super-comfortable plastic chair to let me know that, “Yeah, so I kinda didn’t pass…”

“Could you speak up a little, Son? It sounded like you said you didn’t pass the test.”

“Well, there were all these stupid questions about how far you have to stop from a safety zone, and the allowable blood-alcohol percentages if you’re 21 or 18. None of that stuff was in my online course.”

“Hmm… Is that right? Is that the same online course I saw you taking on your computer while you were also looking down at your phone?”

“Well, I mean, I might have been playing Clash Royale sometimes when I had to listen to the long stuff, but I was listening the whole time. I totally studied.”

[sound of tiny blood vessels exploding inside my brain]

After some time to relax a little and get a quick CT scan, I informed Son Number Two that I would drive him back to the DMV one more time for the written test. He promises that he has studied “super hard this time.” He knows he’s on thin ice and if he fails a second time, he’ll need to figure out another way to get there for try number three.

We have waited the required seven days, and we go back tomorrow to take the test again. Supposedly, we just walk in and get in line for a computer, but I swear, if I have to wait to go to a window and deal with Shirley again, Number Two is walking home, passing grade or not.

We’ll see about any Christmas presents.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen


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