My third kid has started driver's ed. You'd think I'd have this whole process all mapped out by now. Instead, I've blocked my other teens learning to drive out of my mind completely. Well, unfortunately not completely. I remember enough to dread it. Being terrified sitting helpless in the passenger's seat of my own car with my kid at the wheel. Then being shocked and horrified (not to mention, broke) when my kids got their licenses and I had to add two teen boys on to the car insurance. But, the thing I remember the most vividly is the DMV. Which in Colorado is actually called the Department of Revenue. But, if I titled this post that, you would've thought this post was about pot. And now that I think about it, it probably would've gotten more readers. Whatever.
With my first kid, the anticipation of him driving was completely traumatic. For me anyhow. And with my second one, I want to say I was a tad more relaxed, but I wasn't. And no one was as relaxed as he was. Because about 5 months after he got his driver's permit, he lost his wallet with his permit in it. Requiring that I drive him back to the Department of Revenue to get a new one. The thing is in Colorado Springs there's only one office that handles driver's permits for the entire city. Making it insanely busy. No problem. We'll just get there before it opens and wait outside so we can be the first in line. Only, when we got there at 6:55 am (it opens at 7) there was already a long line waiting for the door to open. Shit! At least I brought a book with me. And I had an extra one in the car, just in case. But, surely it wouldn't take that long.
After we filtered in and got a number that's in a random order so you can't calculate how long you have to wait, there weren't any seats left. After a couple of hours leaning against the wall and shifting to alleviate my aching back, while constantly surveying people whose numbers got called to steal their seats when they got up, we could finally sit down. Time ticked away with the loud distractions of people talking on their phones in the one huge waiting room we were all crammed into while I read my book.
Until it was lunchtime and the clerks cycled through their breaks one at a time. Reducing the number of open windows to serve customers for 2 hours. We were so hungry we started fantasizing about the soggy tuna sandwiches they were likely eating in the back room. Which is basically the brink of starvation. We couldn't risk leaving, because you know our number would be called while we were out. So, I left my kid there as collateral, while I ran to the 7-11 down the street to score us some soda, chips and candy bars. The sweaty hot dog rotating on the warming roller was tempting, but I was sure it would require me to use the public toilet in an untimely, urgent way. And if they're understaffed at the counter, I can't imagine the state of the restrooms.
I'd already finished one book and got the other one from the car on the way back in with our food rations. We weren't leaving without a permit. Another hour and a half and several chapters in my second book later, our number was finally called. We filled out the obligatory paperwork, he had his photo taken and a mere total of 7 hours later, my son had a receipt for a driver's permit he'd receive in the mail in a week or so. But instead of getting the new driver's permit in 7 days (that took longer), my son found his wallet with his original driver's permit in it at a friend's house. Are you kidding me? And that's when I almost killed him. It's also why I dreaded going with my third kid to get her driver's permit, because I've already done my time!
My daughter had gotten a perfect score on her written exam at her driver's education class two days before. All we had to do was take her paperwork to the Department of Revenue to get the permit. But, this time, I made an appointment at the office in Pueblo (a 50 minute drive south of Colorado Springs). I brought a book and snacks, just in case. We arrived promptly at her appointment time with all the required documentation and we were sent directly to the counter. Finally, I'd beaten the system! Or had I? Because when they went to search for her test results on their new convenient electronic system, they couldn't find it. And there was nothing we could do to rectify the situation. (Trust me, I tried.) So, we drove all the way back home permit-less.
And I promptly made another appointment down in Pueblo to get her permit. But, only after getting a copy of the results of her written test e-mailed to me. Now, I only need to get a new ink cartridge so I can print it out to have tangible physical proof when we go tomorrow. I'm bringing 3 books, 2 meals and a tent. I don't care if we need a camping permit or not!