Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Driving Again (Legally that is)

I wrote some time ago about taking the driving evaluation with one of the therapists at UVRMC. Even though that went smoothly, that was not the end of the driving story. The DMV never officially revoked my license when the accident occurred. In fact, they never knew about it. At least that is, they didn't until the rehab center sent in the report from my driving evaluation. Even though their report was that I was very able physically to continue driving and that my mental status was no worse than it previously was, the DMV decided that I need to take a driving test with them. You know, the regular "I'm sixteen and I want to get my license now" test. The one where they test all those important skills like whether or not you turn the tire into the curb when parking downhill and away from the curb when parking uphill and making sure you keep your hands at 10 and 2. So just to recap: when I had my debilitating accident which left me paralized from the waist down, the doctor's office said nothing and the DMV did nothing. When I recovered enough to pass a physical exam with flying colors and receive a doctor's whole-hearted endorsement, the DMV decided they need to retest my basic driving competence. Apparently getting paralized can cause you to forget what a stop sign looks like.

Of course, when I got the notification from the DMV I had already been driving. They informed me that I needed to take a driving test within 60 days or my license would be revoked. Now, my license was set for renewal on my birthday anyway, so I was at least going to have to send in forms. But I hadn't planned on having to schedule a test. Of course, my rational solution to the problem was to procrastinate scheduling my exam. It is a pretty effective approach actually: the silent protest, which only I know about and which only affects me. Anyway, by the time I got around to scheduling the exam, the DMV was just plumb booked until December 9th. (Wow, the waiting time to take that driving test is like 2 weeks! Incredible. I can buy 5 cars in the time it takes to get permission to drive one). I told them about my hard and fast deadline (which was November 20-ish). They assured me that if I had an exam scheduled I would be just fine. However, that fateful letter appeared on about the 4th of December informing me that my license had been revoked as of the 24th of November. I figured if I have been driving illegally for two weeks, why stop now? So I just kept driving.

Well, today I went in to take my test. The guys at the DMV weren't even sure what to do with me. One of them recognized me from when I got my motorcycle endorsement because his son is the only other Jeremy Michael West in the state of Utah that is registered to drive. He even asked: "Did you forget how to drive?" Of course I passed without problems; although, I lost a few points for driving one handed at one point and for forgetting to signal while demonstrating my parallel parking skills in the DMV PARKING LOT (who signals in the back of an empty parking while parallel parking between some cones?)! I think the examiner was just mad that I was able to parallel park so well the first time... Anyway, they asked if I wanted a new picture. I said that the old one was fine just to speed up the process, but then he told me that my picture was too old and I had to take a new one. Now remember, before the accident they were going to renew it with just a mailed in form, no new picture. But apparently taking a test necessitates a new picture. Also, the fact that my license had expired necessitated some extra forms. Anyway, it was the typical DMV experience, but the good news is that I am driving now.

On a lighter, less sarcastic/bitter note: I am off the cane (which most of you at church probably know by now). I am walking on my own power now. I still have some shortcomings in my right leg that keep me from running or jumping, but I can stand and walk about as much as I want. Over the Thanksgiving break I even played a rousing game of stationary volleyball (meaning I covered about a square yard and everyone else ran around me to get the other balls). It was fun to pretend that I can play volleyball again at least.