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Getting a Learners Driving Permit, COVID Edition

Ellen Levitt

Posted on July 23, 2020 20:55

2 users

My younger daughter got her learner's permit, and it was more annoying than usual because of the Covid situation.

I can't stop being a teacher, so let me teach you a helpful Yiddish word: "tsuris" (or a variant spelling) means "aggravation", "trouble." As in, "These mosquitoes are giving me tsuris today," or "We waited on the line at DMV and it was such tsuris." 

New York City's Department of Motor Vehicles offices had been closed for quite a while, due to the Covid pandemic, and only recently reopened. My younger daughter, Michelle, needed to get her learner's permit because I have been giving her driving lessons for a while, and it was ridiculous that she didn't yet have the official paper.

I'd heard that DMV had reopened in a limited capacity, so I went to their website and got Michelle an appointment to take her multiple choice test and do the other official things to qualify for the learner's permit. In the past, a potential new driver merely strolled into one of the DMV offices at her or his convenience, but now you cannot. 

Even though Michelle had a 5PM appointment, and we arrived 15 minutes early, the line was long on West Eighth Street in Coney Island. We were a few blocks away from the iconic beach and amusement park rides such as the Cyclone Rollercoaster and Wonder Wheel, but none of those were of any interest to us while we stood on line and waited. 

Yes, it was kinda chaotic and not fun, waiting to be shepherded inside. The one DMV worker tasked to be outside was out of his league. It wasn't until around 5:45 PM that we made it inside, where it was air conditioned. Whew.

By the way, I'm not a helicopter mom: if a driver is under 18 she or he must be accompanied by a guardian. Hence, my presence.

The line moved quicker inside, and soon she was assigned a computer to take the twenty question multiple choice test. I'd helped her study for the test for about a week, and while she grappled, I sat in the adjacent room. Fortunately she passed the MC test, and then had her numerous papers sorted (we brought a completed application, her passport, birth certificate, Social Security card, a recent report card and her ID card from school, my driver's license ... ). She took the brief vision test. She and I had to sign a few other papers. She had her photo taken, sans mask. 

Then ... voila, she had her temporary Learner's Permit. Hooray!

It's a Rite of Passage. A minor but necessary part of maturation, even in the Big City. 

And it was more fraught with tsuris than usual. Just about everything has extra hoops to jump through these days, especially if the government is involved. Fortunately the workers at DMV were pleasant. 

We went outside and noticed storm clouds rapidly moving above. The wind blew roughly; we heard cracks of thunder and saw lightning. We took cellphone photos. Within minutes the rain fell.

Was this an omen of Michelle's future as a driver? Stay tuned.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on July 23, 2020 20:55

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Source: CNN

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