May 18th, 2004

sir didy

Camping and driving

I just celebrated my 15th year of being a licensed driver.

Like every Texas (urban) kid, I raced to the DPS office the morning of my 16th birthday to take my drivers' test. It nearly killed me to slow down for the school zones. I waited in line, filled out the forms, and waited forever for the examiner to call my name and walk with me to the mini-van that I brought to take the exam in.

He directed me around back, and I did the parallel parking part of the exam beautifully. After that, he asked me to drive around a nearby neighborhood. I was really nervous, and drove a lot slower than I usually would. Finally, he asked me to turn left onto a major road that headed back to the DPS office. I pulled up to the road, saw my opening and took it. I drove back to the DPS triumphantly, confident that I was now legal to drive without my parents in the car. We pulled into a parking space, and he handed me my results.

I failed. Apparently, my stop at the left turn wasn't a complete one in the eyes of the DPS examiner. I know and everyone else who has ever been in that situation knows that when you have an opportunity to turn left onto a major street, you take it. Otherwise you could be sitting there for days waiting for traffic to clear. There is an exception to this general rule though: Do not take the left if a DPS examiner is in the car.

I cried for the entirety of my 16th birthday.

I went back the next morning and passed the test. The day after my 16th birthday was much better than the day of.

I hear that they’ve gotten rid of the driving test in Texas if the kid has taken and passed driver’s ed. Turns out that something like 95 percent of the kids who take and pass driver’s ed end up passing on the first two tries, so it was just a waste of money to have assholes like the guy who failed me validating the tests of assholes like the guy who made us run his errands. I guess that it’s a good thing, because it means that in general, Texas kids don’t have to worry about having a sucky 16th birthday.

In other news, I'm gonna go see my sister in California! Yay! When we talked (after hearing about the potato on her arm) I mentioned that I hadn't seen her in awhile and I'd like to go out and visit. She said she has a hankering to go camping somewhere, and so we're planning a camping trip within reasonable driving distance of San Francisco on 4th of July weekend. I said something about driving to Oregon and back, she said something about my brain being on crack, and I said something about her being the one that works for a tavel book publishing company. Right now, the top candidates are Yosemite and Redwood National Forest, with Tahoe running a distant third. I'm leaning towards the Redwood National Forest, mainly because I've (briefly) been to Yosemite and Tahoe before, and I hear that on major holidays it can be quite crowded in both places. Claudia overheard the conversation, and as she's quitting her job at the end of next week and she doesn't have any major plans for the immediate future, she said something about taking Holden on a westward road trip and maybe meeting us for the epic camping trip. Under the circumstances, I suspect that hilarity will ensue.

Anyhow, Bay Area folk, I'll probably be around from July 1 to July 6, though for some of that time, I'll be in the wilderness with at least one of my sisters and possibly an oversized Labrador retriever.