2012-09-20 / Lifestyles

Driving through red tape

Lois A. Corcoran

After completing driver’s ed and countless hours of practice, the next hoop my son jumped through involved taking a road test. First, the big guy with the brown fedora ran an inspection of our car. Turn signals? Check. Brake lights? Check... For once in its life, everything on our Grand Am worked at the same time.

Kelly’s first assignment required backing into a designated spot without knocking over any traffic cones. Fortunately, he did not inherit my driving abilities. As one who zigzags while in reverse, I can state with complete honesty that I would have flattened every marker in the lot.

“Okay,” said the guy, “we get to drive around now.” He rattled off his standard spiel ending with, “Before we begin, do you have any questions?” The one foremost in mind was, “How did my son grow up so fast?”

But I kept my trap shut for the half hour we rode around. “At the traffic light, turn left,” said the guy as we embarked on the journey, and Kelly obediently followed each instruction. I marveled at having a job where you get paid for telling people where to go.

“Congratulations! You passed!” Mr. Tester declared when we returned.

“That was easier than I thought,” Kell said later as he clutched the coveted certificate in his hand. We drove to the Secretary of State office, took a number, and soon found ourselves in front of the next available clerk.

“I’m here for my driver’s license,” said my son proudly, handing her his driver’s permit, Segment 2 certificate, and proof of the fresh road test.

“Did you bring your birth certificate and social security card?” she asked. We did not. Apparently this is fairly common because she whipped out a mandated list, and circled the missing items with her eyes shut.

So we drove home, rounded up the necessary documents and returned within the hour. Kelly filled out an application while I signed the parental permission form.

“Wait,” he said, so I stopped.

“No, I mean weight.”

“Oh. I guess you’re one-fifteen, soaking wet,” I said. He jotted it down, omitting the drenched part.

Then they took his picture, for which I requested an enlargement, and the rest, as they say, is history. After a year of red tape, it seemed kind of anticlimactic.

I can only hope his driving career will be, too.

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