I got my drivers license yesterday. Of course, I wouldn't mention this, let alone write a daylog, if it weren't a truly laborious and painful process. I took drivers education (which is very much a joke we all endure to appease insurance agencies) almost a year and a half ago. Here in Maine, they force you to drive 35 hours with a licensed driver (my mom or dad, in this case). This may not seem like too much on paper, but in reality, it's quite an ordeal. Especially when your parents are busy driving your sister to the ridiculous number of soccer games she plays, and especially when they won't let you falsify it as everyone else in the known universe does.

So, anyway, August '01. A year and a month after the fact. I finally completed my hours and sent in the damn thing. I went to the DMV, which is situated near my house in a large residential neighborhood. The DMV is famous everywhere for being the very model of a inefficient, infuriating bureaucracy. I'm not sure how bad it is in other places, but it's pretty bad, here. With the exception of Azure Monk and maybe detunedradio, I'm fairly sure no one here has had the pleasure of dealing with the Portland DMV.

The building, and the all people who work in it, reek of this unpleasant yet not appalling odor. Something like a cross between cigarette smoke and new carpeting. One of the examiners ambles out into the parking lot, eyes the three cars parked there, and enters the one to the left me. The next one comes out, and enters the car to the right of me. Finally, as I've been the only sitting there for about ten minutes, this old bald guy who resembles Skinner from The X-files walks out to my car. He instructs me very curtly to activate my blinkers, headlights, wipers, brake lights, etc.

Finally, he gets in and tells me to move it. He then rolls down the window and remarks on how cool the automatic windows are. (Yeah, like no one has those nowadays). I should mention that I'm nervous as hell. It unnerves me just to think of this day, as I would have the repeat the futile excercise three more times after this. Yes, I failed the damn test three times.

Alright. The first time I failed because I was too close to the railroad tracks when I started to slow down and look both ways. They have those big barricades that come down in front of the tracks here, too, so I frankly fail to see how this is a necessary skill when driving.
The second time, I was at a 4-way stop, and another car was coming from the perpendicular direction. I apparently left the intersection too early, and I am "not experienced enough to make that judgement" as to whether I could make it in time. Even though I had at least 5 seconds to spare. Oooohkay.
The third time is the worst. I did not look at the caged-in impound lot when I was exiting the parking lot. The lady still made me drive around for 1/2 hour, even though I'd failed about 10 seconds in. At this point, I had developed a extreme abhorrance for the DMV, and a suspicion that they were holding a personal vendetta against me.

The fourth time I miraculously managed to pass the test. After a good hour's wait, they finally, grudgingly it would seem, took my picture. All the while, the mustachioed old man at the desk cracked jokes about how I must be a horrible driver on account of my age being less than 20, and that my mom also must be insane to let me drive a car. Thanks, asshole. At long last, after nearly 16 months of watching everyone else get their conveted palm-sized avatar, I too was handed a little laminated card with my name and picture on it.

Funny how such an insignificant piece of plastic and paper would mean so much, socially, to people my age. Such a materialistic society we live in.