At 7:15 a.m., DD1 and I set out for the DMV, armed with passport, student ID, proof or driver’s ed completion. Our mission? (And, yes, we did choose to accept it.) Acquire one learner’s permit.
Having officially attained the age of 15 1/2 years, DD1 was intent on getting her permit. TODAY. Otherwise, the rule requiring a student driver to have a permit for a full six months prior to receiving a regular license would keep DD1 from acquiring said license on her sixteenth birthday, January 27.
Because I do indeed comprehend the magnitude of such a potential delay, I agreed to take the day off today so that we could make the pilgrimage to the DMV prior to my delivering both girls to my mother for a week of quality time with the grandparents. Typically, I would have met my mother half way between our two homes yesterday and spared myself the vacation day expenditure. But the drama associated with missing the learner’s permit deadline? So. not. worth. it.
Okay, so we’re back. DD1. Me. All official documents. Garmin. Yes, Garmin. Because I have a terrible sense of direction, and the DMV closed the only office I’d ever been to before. You know, the one that was conveniently located close to my work. Not to be deterred, I looked up the address of the other location online, plugged it in to the trusty GPS, and away we went. I estimated we’d be there shortly after the office opened, and hoped to have the entire process completed by around 10:00 so that we could meet my mother in time for lunch.
All went well until the friendly GPS voice indicated we were “arriving at destination on right” when the only thing on the right as far as I could see was an abandoned shopping center. It’s a good think the directionally challenged have access to technology these days. I rechecked the web. Found a website with actual accurate information (or at least I hoped that to be the case) and plugged in our new and improved destination.
Twenty minutes later, we arrived. I loved both the official looking seal on the door and the lack of huge lines. We entered and saw two clerks, one helping a couple and the other doing some computer work. I approached the one not helping a customer and let her know we needed a learner’s permit. “You’ll need to see Bob there.”
Evidently Bob is the man to see. Each and every customer who entered received the same instructions. I know this because I got to stand in line for quite some time while Bob helped the people in front of us, and I never did figure out quite what the other clerk’s job entailed. Once we did move to the front, I presented Bob with all of our documents. He scanned through the passport, the school ID, the proof of driver’s ed completion then asked, “Do you have your school form?”
“Yes, the one that shows enrollment and that she passed the reading test.”
“Um, yes, I know what it is. I didn’t realize we needed it for the permit. I thought that was just for the regular license.”
“No, ma’am. You need it now. You probably can’t get it from the school today, but we can do everything else, and then you can come back down here when you get the form, and we’ll finish up.”
Now, remember, not only do I work for the school district where the kids go to school, but for seven years before taking my current job, I was a principal at the high school DD1 now attends. A principal who supervised the Guidance Office where they produce such handy things as school letters proving students are eligible for their driver’s licenses. Once I got over feeling incredibly stupid for not realizing we’d need said letter for the permit, I had a revelation.
“DD1, I know it may suck at times to have your mother work where you go to school, but this is not one of them.”
Then I got on the phone, called the high school registrar, and got her to whip me up a letter in the time it took me to drive out to the school and get it. DD1 proved she’s much braver than her mother was at the same age by staying at the DMV and taking her test when they called her number. She’d done everything she needed to complete the process, including calling Adventure Guy to get her Social Security number (yet another detail the website left out), by the time I returned officially-sealed school form in hand.
I initialled the appropriate boxes and signed on the dotted line. And after a picture and some fingerprinting, we were off. To the next government agency. Where we stood in line, produced all of the same documents, and had DD1’s picture and fingerprints taken. But this time, at the end of the process I got to pay $25.50, and we left with a newly-minted learner’s permit.
And then I got to say things like, “You’ve got to actually turn the wheel when you back out,” and “Gas, push the gas!” But that’s another story.