Today I took M for his inaugural encounter with the mysteries of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. For example, mystery #1 is that you’re handed a ticket with a letter and number that says “estimated wait time 9 minutes,” then 22 minutes later they call your letter, but are still 4 numbers back. At that point, M sighed, and I said, “Just keep studying the manual.” Several people within earshot smiled.
His ticket was finally called and he encountered mystery #2. The RMV scanners couldn’t cope with the paper size used for his birth certificate, despite the fact he was born in the state capital which probably has more births than any other city in the state. Eventually they figured out some kludge, did the rest of the logistics, then sent him into the test room.
As I waited, one teenage girl came out of the test room, shook her head sadly at the person waiting for her, then walked out. A teenage boy came out, and sadly asked the clerk about when he could come back to take it again. They really have made the tests harder. Finally M came out and went to the clerk, with the tiniest of smiles on his face.
A mother and her terrified waiting teenager asked me, “Did he pass?”
I answered, “Yes, he’s smiling. Good luck!” Then M came over, learner’s permit in hand, slightly larger smile on his face. I congratulated him, then held up a newly-copied key on a brand-new key-chain. “And here’s your very own key to my car.” This brought a big smile from M, and from pretty much every adult waiting on that side of the room.
We headed home, and I pulled over to the curb a few blocks from our house. “You’re driving the rest of the way,” I told him.
He did well circling around the block, but after 3 tries to pull into the driveway, the car was so skewed that I suggested circling the block again and starting fresh. We started giggling as we imagined what the cat was thinking, watching us. “My people are home! Oh wait, they’re not.” M also commented that he was glad nobody was around to watch him. Fortunately, the only other teen on our street is 3 weeks younger than M, and desperate to learn to drive herself. (And after watching her spend 10 minutes trying to drive her family’s stick-shift car the length of her driveway, I know she’s not going to mock M for taking multiple attempts on his driveway.)
And after the second loop around the block, he was able to successfully pull into the driveway. Well done!