Pushing the boy into adulthood has not been the pleasure cruise one might believe, primarily because the boy, has a not so fun habit of getting in his own way. So when cracks in his resolve begin to form, we take advantage as quickly as we can, before he realizes what has happened. Such was the case this weekend, when the boy and I took a trip to the BMV to acquire his temporary driver’s license to drive. Though his New Years resolution was to learn how to drive this summer, I pushed for an earlier entrance and for once, he didn’t fight with me.
On most weekends you’ll recall, the boy spends his time living with his Grandmother; helping her around the house and playing video games without his mother’s scrutiny. But this past Saturday, we made plans for me to pick him up mid morning and drive across town- so he could take the written drivers test. “Just let me know when you’re coming back,” His Grandmother began, “I’ve got errands to run. “Considering we’re going to the BMV on a Saturday, you may want to get your errands done while we’re out. I’m also going to get his hair cut…” I replied before we left.
“We really should stop to get your hair cut before we get your license underway…” I said as we entered the car. “Mom, isn’t the license supposed to resemble how you look most of the time?” the boy asked. Giving him a hard look–greasy hair with a shaggy beard, I nodded and said, “You’re right,” and proceeded on. “You know, learning to drive really isn’t all that difficult…” I began as we drove across town, “The hardest part about driving is not getting distracted while you’re driving…” I finished. The boy looked over at me and asked, “Then what in the hell am I doing getting a driver’s license?” Smiling I replied, “Because learning to drive is a great way to learn how to pay attention…” He shook his head and said, “That’s putting a lot of pressure on me…” “The pressure is on all of us bay, to keep our eyes on the road and not looking at our devices while driving,” I added.
When we arrived at the BMV, we stood in one line to tell us where to stand in another line. When we met a clerk, the boy took an eye test and proved once and for all, he needs his glasses. Then he was told to stand in a line, until a computer became available while I sat in a waiting area with the hundreds of other folks who chose to spend their day there too. “Mom!” I heard the boy say some time later and there he was, back in another line, where I joined him, “I passed the written test and sent to this line,” He said. “How did you do?” I wondered. “I missed seven out of forty-five questions, but still passed,” He said. “Did it show you which ones you missed?” I asked. “Yeah, they were dumb mistakes by me,” He explained. When we reached the clerk, she took a look at his paperwork and then sent us to wait in another area until his number was called. “They’re on number 43…” He said looking down at the piece of paper he was handed, with the number 68 printed on it. “Yeah, but maybe they’ll move by quickly…” I said with hopeful reassurance.
Finally, his number was called and we approached the clerk, who looked at his paperwork, pulled up his test results and then asked him some important questions, “Since you’re eighteen, you’re required by law to file for the draft, would you like to do this now?” “I may have already done this online, but I’m not sure…” He replied. “Would you like to file here, just in case?” She asked. “Yes,” He agreed. “Since you’re eighteen, would you like to register to vote in the next election?” Standing up straight and looking somewhat surprised, he replied, “Oh yes!” and she smiled back at him, in reply. “Since you’re eighteen, in the case of an accident, would you be interested in being an organ donor for transplants?” “Uh, sure,” He replied and the clerk thanked him-which I found very sweet. “Okay, please read over your material, to make sure everything is correct,” The clerk instructed, before handing me the driving materials needed to ensure he receives proper training, along with the bill for the license. Then the boy was instructed to go stand in yet another line, to have his picture taken.
“You know, I didn’t plan on spending this much time with you today…” He said as we waited. “Well at least they’ve all been quality minutes…” I replied and we both smirked. “We’ve been here over two hours,” He remarked. “Yep,” I replied. “Do you think, before we get my hair cut, we can get something to eat?” I smiled and agreed, knowing he always thinks with his stomach above all else. When we finally exited the BMV I said, “Wow bay, you’re now a legal adult–filed for the draft, organ donor, registered to vote and have a temporary permit to drive. Not bad for two hours of work…” “I’m especially happy I can vote in the next election,” He returned. When we reached the car I jokingly asked, “So, would you like to drive?” Without even looking at me he replied, ‘NO!” which made me laugh. No was the right answer–at least until we find a quiet cemetery for him to practice in.