I now know what it must feel like to be the parent of a teenager, waiting for your teen to come out of the DMV (ICBC office) with either a smile or a frown. As a parent you hope the best for your child you want them to succeed, especially when it comes to the ultimate rite of passage, the driver’s license. I waited for an hour in the DMV yesterday, worried that perhaps Jeff (who has driven for years and had to re-take the driver’s test to get a license in Canada) would fail. We had been practicing all morning and he aced the written test, but what if he didn’t pass the driving test? I was already mentally preparing my words of wisdom if he was going to fail because of some a-hole kid instructor who decides today is a bad day for him and therefore a bad day for Jeff. I was going to tell Jeff the story of how I failed my first driving test, how upset I was and how I worked so hard to just get my license so I could drive to school. I couldn’t sit still while I waited. I did the word search in the paper, watched various people come and go, listened to irritated customers ranting about their recent ticket and rise in insurance costs.
And then I spotted an elderly woman, in her 80’s, being told that she had failed her driver’s test. This broke my heart. She stayed at the counter and continually asked “Why?” The man behind the counter was so patient. He said “Well, it looks like you failed with rolling stops. You have to come to a complete stop. Practicing a bit more will help.” As they talked about how much she needed to practice, that yes he had to break similar bad news to many people throughout the day, I was almost in tears thinking of this woman and how she had lost her independence. I actually considered getting up to offer her a lift home, I would drive her car home for her and somehow make my way back to the DMV. Instead I stayed seated, my leg nervously tapping, head down in the word search, hoping for the best.
When Jeff came back from his test he was all smiles. He had passed. Thank God. I felt such a sense of relief. And the 80 year-old woman? She left with a smile on her face because she was informed she could re-take the test next week and that she could drive places with someone 19 or older in the car with her. I’m guessing she has some quality time with a granddaughter to look forward to.