Ah fifteen, that magical age when everyone save yourself and your bff de jour morphs into an idiot overnight. That delightful time when the body is hurtling headlong into adulthood while the intellect is still flipping through cartoons and wondering where the play-doh went. It is also the time when seemingly reasonable adults allow this seething mass of conflicted hormones behind the wheel of a thousand pound steel (well now days fiberglass) brick.
I was no different. I turned 15 and I wanted my learner’s permit. Never mind that it would be years before I could actually drive a car. I wanted the shiny plastic card that signified my right of passage from childhood to full blown teenhood.
My mom, ever the trooper, got me the booklet (yes people this was before the internet – get your snickering out of the way now) and helped me study. It was at that point I realized she was still as smart as she was when I was ten, for she had been quietly instructing me on the finer points of driving my entire life. Once a teacher always a teacher and every outing had been a potential lesson in rules and safety.
In no time flat I was ready to take the test. Yippee! Once we got to the DMV, however, the real fun began.
As best as I can recollect this is how the conversation went.
Mom: My daughter would like to take her learner’s permit test.
Clerk: Have your daughter study the booklet and come in when she’s ready to take the test.
Mom: She’s ready to take the test now. She just needs the paperwork.
Clerk: Well she needs to come in, in person, and take it here.
Mom: She is here.
At this point there was a long pause. Finally my mom looked down at me and said, “Oh for heaven’s sake would you step back so the lady can see you!”
Back then there was no ADA. There were no accessible anythings. If you weren’t five feet or better you weren’t visible. The poor clerk thought she had a nut case on her hands. Here was this woman talking and gesturing like there was someone with her, yet the clerk saw only empty air.
Heh, sometimes it’s just too easy.