Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Milestone in the Road of Life

The incessant banging on my bedroom door last Tuesday afternoon forcing me back to consciousness from a deep sleep was the signal that my son, Darth Spoilboy, had returned from his last formal driving lesson with a professional instructor. It was also the indication he was more than ready to take the driving test at the local department of motor vehicles office, which unfortunately for me meant I would have to go with him.

For a few moments I continued to lay in bed struggling to find the motivation to go visit a place that even the most radical atheists often described as hell, despite the fact my son’s pounding threaten to shatter the door into a million pieces sending a swarm of deadly wooden splinters my way. The thought did cross my mind that such a fate might just possibly be preferable than having to spend time dealing with low paid and irate civil servants along with the hordes of spoiled civilians with bad attitudes.

In the end for my son, I did get up, slip on my sandals, and get out of the room before any real damage was done. I owed Spoilboy that much, Monday marked the last day of a desperate six-month waiting period after taking the written examination for his driver’s permit allowing him to take the road test and get his restricted license. Aside from a horrible condition, he suffered from back in 2005 resulting in massive surgery to his intestines and several weeks of painful recuperation, the six-month period waiting for his driver’s license was the most anguished time in his young life.

The driver’s permit allowed Spoilboy at the wheel of a car only while accompanied by an adult, which was problematic when we came anywhere near his friends resulting in severe embarrassment for him being seen with his parents. Several times Spoilboy asked my wife or me to slump down in the car in an attempt not to be seen as we passed close by someone he knew. He stopped making this request after I started picking my nose and eating phantom buggers in clear view of anyone nearby in their own cars. So you can understand how he viewed his driver’s license as a form of personal liberation for his young soul.

Now our battle plan was to arrive at the DMV around 1:00pm, the time we theorized the least amount of people would be there trying to get business done that particular weekday. Walking into the confines of the building, a glorious testament to bureaucratic architecture, we were first assaulted by the heat from the lack of air conditioning and then by the sight of long lines at the counters and the unwashed masses sitting in uncomfortable chairs certainly designed by one of Satan’s minions. After grabbing the ubiquitous slip of paper with a number printed on it signifying our place in line and the greater scheme of things we joined the sad group with me wondering if we would leave before Doomsday arrived.

As we waited I could not but help wonder why such a pro-business and free enterprise state like South Carolina had not installed a bar in every DMV office not only as a money making venture but a way to alleviate the depressing mind funk that hang over every building like it. I figured after hanging a few tropical posters showing beautiful Caribbean islands the hypothetical bar could sell non-alcoholic beer, low sodium pretzels, and hypoallergenic peanuts at exaggerated prices. The marketing of those items could certainly offset the salaries of many of the civil servants and possibly make the state a little money. And I will not even mention the cash bonanza corporate endorsements of beer, tourism, and snacks would bring.

Going further on making the DMV friendlier, I figured they could throw in a little steel-drum music over the intercom, place several fake palm trees in strategic locations, and have the staff wear Hawaiian shirts complete with colorful leis. Of course, its common knowledge that all DVMs are run by Nazis, ever eager to inflict suffering on people, as well as being gateways to hell so any attempt to humanize such places is simply impossible.

Just as misery from waiting threatened to overwhelm me my son’s number was called and we quickly jumped toward the counter with the smiling clerk waiting to serve us. The clerk was very life-like, almost as good as the automatons in the hall of presidents at Disney World and after checking the various forms to assure the state that Spoilboy was who he was we promptly sat back down to wait for the examiner who would test my son.

With my usual luck, right as I struck up a conversation with a redneck MILF (imagine a 40-something, chain smoking Kate Middleton dressed in an AC/DC t-shirt and tight jeans) there with her daughter the examiner called Spoilboy for the test and wanted to speak to me for a moment. The examiner just wanted to inform me what he was going to test my son on and how long it would take. It was an extremely professional thing to do but annoyed the shit out me since my spot next the hot redneck lady was lost the second I vacated the seat. Looking back, I saw two generic bubbas competing for her attentions and the possibility to join her list of boyfriends with the chance to vie for the grand prize of being her fourth husband.

After a mandatory check of the vehicle by the examiner, he and Spoilboy drove off for the test leaving me waiting outside. Without sounding too much like the proud father I figured my son had the test in the bag, along with several sessions with a professional driving instructor, Spoilboy and I had spent many hours just driving around. I found him a careful and considerate driver, which was good for my heart given how teenagers usually are when they first start driving.

During this time what was funny was seeing his intense focus on getting the parallel parking portion of the test right. A few times during these practices, I started feeling the first symptoms of motion sickness as he repeatedly ran through the maneuvers it would take to get him inside the assigned space. So, when he and the instructor pulled back into the DMV area and drove up towards the barriers that served as the parallel parking test site I was sure he would make it but I still found myself holding my breath.

With a deftness and skill I admired, Spoilboy whipped the car inside the required space completing and passing the test. Soon afterwards, my usually levelheaded and calm son was clearly walking amongst the clouds as we waited for his driver’s license to be made. Out of all the uncomfortable waiting in a place I almost would not wish on my worst enemy it was totally worth it to see him pass this milestone on the way to adulthood.

The only problem now is that Dragonwife and I are feeling the pressure by Spoilboy to purchase him his own car. I just wish his driver’s education had included a lesson on how insuring teenage boys cost their parents several body parts along with the pawning of younger siblings. That reminds me, I have only seven years before Miss Wiggles gets her license, any prayers and funds sent my way would be greatly appreciated.


Cloudia said...

Parents deserve medals!

Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




Beach Bum said...

Cloudia: Amen! I just hope to get out with my sanity.

Doc said...

Prayers? I gotta million of them for ya. Cash? Fresh out and my oldest will be driving in seven years so I'd like a few of those prayers back when you're done with 'em.


Chef Cthulhu said...

Damn the MILF-thieving bubbas! I shall visit a horde of Fungi from Yuggoth upon them forthwith.

About five years out from my oldests first driving test. I'm already panicking.

Liberality said...

I am past all of that now but yeah, it was nerve wracking while it was going on. The worst for me was when I was the passenger trying to act as if I were not too concerned when actually I felt nearer to a full blown panic attack. Good luck! :)

Pixel Peeper said...

Congratulations to Darth Spoilboy!

That DMV was a frequent hangout for me since I used to register all the company vehicles when I worked in SC. Glad to hear that some places haven't changed... :-P

Better plant that money tree now, to allow for car purchase and higher insurance rates.

Beach Bum said...

Doc: Its scary how fast my son grew up from the little dude sitting in the car seat mounted in the back to the young man driving the car. I'll gladly send prayers back your way by friend, we can all use the help.

Chef: Serious, the chick had that Kate Middleton look which the smoking only took away from slightly. Actually I though the AC/DC t-shirt was a riot, I imagined Queen Elizabeth freaking out after seeing pictures in some tabloid.

Liberality: I'll take all the good vibes I can get, especially when my daughter starts driving. I'm actually afraid her teenage years are going to be very rough.

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: He is still walking amongst the clouds, even as I freak seeing him drive off alone to go pick up is girlfriend or take her home.

Windsmoke. said...

In answer to your question on my last post there was no mention of a swarm of small earthquakes in Nevada only a swarm of Tornadoes in North Carolina. Been there and done that and know what's it's like but i wouldn't have missed it for the world :-).

Beach Bum said...

Windsmoke: Yeah, I was proud of my boy and he loves the idea of just going for a ride. I remember being the same way.

Ranch Chimp said...

Kind of a funny story Guy ... and Good Morning Bum ... or evening, or whatever the Hell it is, it's 3:11am here in Dallas ... havent got to bed .... YET, but will in a few mintue's I reckon. However, I enjoyed the story and it brought back old memories of course of my daughter's (never had any son's, but have a stepson who also live's here in Dallas, has a home in the same neighborhood actually). But memories because I was such a die hard parent on teaching my daughter's driving and giving them just all kind's of tip's to enter adulthood and be ready actually. But I would put my daughter's behind the wheel at around 10 year's old, and remember having to put pillow's under them to sit on when they were too short, go to a large industrial parking lot on some sunday, when it was empty and tell them to "go to it!" for starter's. I would put my daughter under the hood as early as 12 even and show them what make's what drive, how to change oil, check and change tire's, fluid's, belt's, hose's, etc, etc ... but anywayz ... when I took my youngest daughter who is in the photo with me (last I took to take the test) to get her liscense ... the state instructor/ officer was absolutely blown away and impressed on her driving (he was in shock actually) ... and asked her where she learned to drive like that?!! ... she just said ... "my dad" ... her score of course was perfect. But yes ... I started my daughter's young I reckon .. I even had them on the gun range by the time they were teen's ... and teaching them how to clean, load, and safely use/ store firearm's as well.

Later Guy ... bedtime brother! :)

Lowandslow said...

Congrats to da Boy. He now da Man. Suggest you get him a '62 Buick Duece and a Quarter. It's about 2 blocks long and has more steel in it than the battleship New Jersey. Just be sure to remove the back seat before you hand him the keys. He might have had his eye on your MILF, too. *wink*


Randal Graves said...

Since my oldest has no desire to drive, I must laugh, with all respect of course, at thy misery.

Akelamalu said...

Congratulations to your son!

I remember when I passed my driving test - I didn't believe it and argued with the examiner that he'd made a mistake! LOL

R W Rawles said...

Consider this a prayerful post, Beach Bum, one from among the unwashed masses.

I recall that when I passed my first driving test (some known but undisclosed years ago), I still had something to look forward to. And that was my parents offering to buy my first car for me. My parents then told me that I had entered a new stage which they dubbed, DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR.

R W Rawles said...

BTW, I know what a MILF is; but what is a MIFL?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

My trips to DMV always lead to same conclusion - namely, that God has an absolutely sick sense of humor (well, save, of course, for those occasional hotties/MILFs).

Oso said...

Well at least the first child gave you the awful taste of what awaits when the second kid is ready to drive,Beach.
I taught both mine to drive on a 73 bug, so they had to learn a stick as well. It experience, both times.

Beach Bum said...

Ranch: Yeah, my dad and I did similar things, if I tried them now my wife would freak.

LowandSlow: He's looking at Honda Civic but right now he'd probably take anything right now.

Randal: I'll be putting the boy to work soon, driving my daughter around and going to the trash pile. He will me hating the idea of driving soon enough since I ain't letting him drive much farther than that for a long time.

Akelamalu: He was worried, and it wasn't until the examiner came back in with him did he himself really believe it as well.

RW: Yeah, Spoilboy is exactly the same way. Sorry about that MILF typo.

Will: If they would just add the bar like I mentioned it would be a better place.

Oso: God help me if I had to teach Spoilboy on a stick. I only learned by tearing the transmissions on several US Army jeeps to metal shards.

okjimm said...

Ha... my son saved three years to buy a car... ended up with a 1990 volvo.... one Christmas... he got new tires. for his birthday he got a fixed exhaust. Went he went to Portland he sold it to his sister...and a extremely fair price. for her birthday she got new brakes. It still runs great... and THEY learned how to take care of it. I think I want to buy it when she is done.
good luck &stuff.

Nance said...

You won't believe it, but Myrtle Beach transformed their DMV from a place known for incipient violence to a nearly-functional public service. Eat your heart out. It's the only thing Myrtle Beach has done right in over twenty years.

You are to be congratulated, Dad; you've now moved on to a whole new set of worries and aggravations. They sure were cute as toddlers, though, weren't they? So cute.

Mark Lyon said...

hilarious ad true!!!!!!

lime said...

oh lord have mercy...this whole process is hideous. i have a young lady with a permit and a husband who is not allowed to be the driving instructor since loosing his license due to a seizure. so it has fallen to me. today i really don't know how (aside from angels standing between two cars and shoving us away from each other) that we avoided a serious collision. daughter made quite a serious error in judgment. i think i sprouted 4 dozen new grey hairs and lost 2 years off my life span.

congrats to spoilboy. let's you and i share a drink to steady our nerves....

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