Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Driving Need

#2 Son, who turned 16 last month, has been clamoring for driving lessons. It's something i've been hesitant about, as any kid who will catch poisonous snakes, make his own home made weapons, and seems to have absolutely no fear of anything may well turn out to be the one person you don't want on the road.

But it's a standard rite of passage, and in Louisiana there are certain requirements.

Gone are the days when you could, as Teresa Bloomingdale's son did the day he turned 16, go into the DMV to take the test "just to see what happens" and come out with a license. (Mrs. Bloomingdale had 10 kids in just over 12 years and chronicled all of this in her book I Should Have Seen It Coming When The Rabbit Died. She said after her son drove her home that day, he asked if he could take the car to go show the guys he had his license, promising she would see him in time for dinner. She says she didn't see him again until time for college.)

No. to become a newly minted driver now you must take classroom instruction. (Yes, i had such instruction, too, but it wasn't mandatory.) If you are 17 or older and have never had a license, you must take a 6 hour class. If under 17, you must take a full 36 hour course, plus 8 hours of behind the wheel instruction from the school. There is also a mandatory 180-day wait from the time you get a learner's permit until you can convert it to a full license. (That is also since my day.)

Thus i began trying to call the driving school which #1 Son attended all those years ago, with no luck. This surprised me, no answer, ever, no call back.

Then i tried the one where Bigger Girl took the 6 hour course. (We made her wait; dyslexia and high functioning Asperger's made me extra cautious with her, she gets excited and can decide to do things that are a bit...odd. Wanted a bit more maturity there. She also seemed nervous about the prospect, and was patient) Again, no one ever there, no call backs, nothing.

Both have active websites with schedules and everything, but even driving past them i could not ever find anyone "at home" so to speak, so i began calling for others.

(If by this you get the idea that we have several of them in this town, we seem to. A plethora, in fact.)

One finally called me back, and miracle of miracles it's just around the corner from us! We scheduled for spring break, this week. (Some schools have this week, some next, so all of the schools websites proclaimed classes for both.) He did not demand a deposit like the rest do -- good thing.

The morning broke and i went out to run an errand, and look for the place before taking #2 Son there, to make sure it was where i thought it was by the address. It's near here, but off my usual path, so i didn't want to be late.

(If by this you get the idea that i am a morning person, up and out and doing very early, you would be right. That's why my night owl children take the middle of the night kitten feedings, and i get up and do the 4am and morning stuff.)

Lo, and behold the place is shuttered! No sign, nothing there, obviously that part of the building is empty. A frantic call to the contact number turned up no answer, and my message went unreturned.

As the time to wake #2 Son drew closer, panic began to set it. Back to the internet, i decided to try the one driving school i hadn't yet. Passing it by because of it's location -- not easy to get to, and in an industrial rather than retail area -- i desperately called even before their posted hours of operation. After all, any port in a storm, right? (Or, these days, any airport during a pilot meltdown.)

Inward sigh of relief when they were not only there, but had an opening, are the only place in town that brings in a driving simulator on the final day of class, and cost $50 less than every other place in town! #2 Son got up and dressed and had his mandatory cup of coffee, and got to go to driving school on schedule.

His driving need to drive shall be fulfilled soon.

Today is

Anniversary of the Second Republic -- Republic of Guinea

Day Sacred to Bona Dea and Day of Proserpina's Rise from the Underworld -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Hanshi a/k/a Cold Food Festival -- China (second day of the Quingming Festival)

National Chocolate Mousse Day

National Find-A-Rainbow Day -- a day to paint bright and colorful wishes for your friends, family, and sweetheart; if you actually find a rainbow in the sky, that's a plus

Overcome a Handicap Day -- on the day, in 1981, when one-legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt cleared 6 feet 8¼ inches, only about a foot under the world record at the time

Pony Express Day -- inaugurated this day in 1860

Shower Dance -- Fairy Calendar

St. Irene's Day (Patron of peace)

St. Richard of Chichester's Day (called Ricardus, ri for ridens meaning "laughing", car for carus meaning "dear", dus for dulcis meaning "sweet"; Patron of coachmen and of the Diocese of Chichester, Sussex, England)

Tweed Day -- a day to consider the costs of political corruption, on the birthday of "Boss" Tweed

Birthdays Today:

Picabo Street, 1971
Robert Chapin, 1964
Eddie Murphy, 1961
David Hyde Pierce, 1959
Alec Baldwin, 1958
Tony Orlando, 1944
Marsha Mason, 1942
Wayne Newton, 1942
Jane Goodall, 1934
Virgil "Gus" Grissom, 1926
Jan Merlin, 1925
Marlon Brando, 1924
Doris Day, 1924
Herb Caen, 1916
William Magear "Boss" Tweed, 1823
Edward Everett Hale, 1822
Washington Irving, 1783

Today in History:

Edward the Confessor is crowned king of England, 1043
The US Pony Express begins its first run, 1860
Gottlieb Daimler receives a German patent for his engine, 1885
Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality, 1895
The US House of Representatives accept the "American's Creed," a patriotic contest winner by William Tyler Page, as the official creed of the US, 1918
The building of the RMS Queen Mary is commissioned, 1929
President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, 1948
Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, 1968
The first portable cell phone call is made in New York City, 1973
Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default, 1975
Conventional-Train World Speed Record: a French TGV train on the LGV Est high speed line sets an official new world speed record, 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), 2007
Australia formally adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2009


  1. I'm surprised that schools in your state can still afford mandatory driving classes. In Oregon, those classes faced the budget ax long ago.

  2. Heavens to Betsy! I think I would have camped in the parking lot, at that rate!


  3. Stephen, regular schools don't have these classes. Everyone has to pay for one of the independent driving schools, and they are not cheap.

    Cat, see the above comment.

  4. Good luck to him and to you.
    Jane Goodall and Doris Day have the same birthday...I like them both.

  5. Thank you, Kay. And i like them, too.


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