The driving test

The driving test

Yesterday was a big day for the teen boy. He earned his driver’s license and was super excited about being able to drive solo. Not sure why… I think I have been an excellent front seat passenger teacher. I have a feeling he would not agree. The number of gasps and imaginary brakes are probably too numerous to count.

Anyway, I digress. Yesterday was his second attempt at the driver’s test. Here was experience #1. We got up super early and arrived at the DMV a little after 7am. I did not take a coat because, while I knew we would have to wait, I did not think the waiting would be outside of the DMV office. We were able to check in a little after 8am and waited with a few of his friends from school since it was a teacher workday. Around 9:30am, he headed out for his driver’s test with a tiny lady in full DMV uniform, including her hat, badge and clipboard. She rushed back in about 15 mins later with Aidan trailing behind her. When I was summoned to station #3, she said with a smirk on her face, “He needs more practice. He failed to indicate at the 3 point turn.” Huh?

Apparently, indicate means use a turn signal. Who uses a turn signal in a 3 point turn? Not me. The teen boy was super disappointed as we headed home. He wanted to drive solo in a big way. And the other hard part to swallow? He has friends who went to the same DMV for their driver’s test and did not indicate on the 3 point turn and passed the test. Sigh. So went the explanation of how people sometimes use their power to make others unhappy.

Fast forward to yesterday. I signed him out of school after lunch, and we headed back to the DMV. No line this time of day… a good sign. And the DMV worker he was assigned to was amazing. I made a point to ask how many times he had to indicate on the 3 point turn, and she patiently explained the rule. As they headed out to the parking lot, I gave the teen boy a thumbs up to let him know I was rooting for him. They came back in about 15 minutes later and went to station #4 and chatted for what felt like forever. Then the teen boy leaned back, gave me a thumbs up and asked me to come to the station window. The DMV worker explained that he passed and that meant he was also pre-registered to vote, and that she was telling me that piece of information because when he comes back in 6 months for the next level of licensure, he won’t remember that part. All he can take in today is that he passed. I said, “it sounds like you have done this a few times.” She chuckled and said “yes, they are all the same.” I am so grateful for her kindness and patience.

As we were leaving, we saw DMW worker #1 heading out to do a driver’s test with a super anxious Asian adult male. It was raining, and she was in full rain gear…. Bright yellow slicker, rain hat, and yes that clipboard. And she was rolling her eyes at having to do the test with this person.

As much as I would love for my teen boy to only experience people like DMV worker #2, it is important for him to know that not everyone will be patient and kind when you are learning and doing something new.

After he passed the test, I called our car insurance company and they immediately added him to our policy, so he was able to drive himself to band practice. As exciting as this has seemed in my head (not having to hang out in Durham for 1.5 hrs) it was not as relaxing as I thought it would be. I kept thinking about him driving on 15-501 during rush hour traffic… in the dark…in the rain. But he pulled in at exactly 6:30pm with the biggest grin on his face. Total driving independence.

Today he offered to take his sister to Wal Mart for beauty supplies, met his best friend for a soda at the local gas station, and took his sister to hang out in Southern Village. His sister also reports that he is a much better driver without me. Fine by me.

Here’s to independent teens and less chauffer work for me. A win/win for sure!

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