Lessons Learned

Driver’s License renewal Tips and a little Story to go with


By Megan Perrin, Staff Writer

February 21, 2016 I was switching my car placement with my father’s. I even looked both ways before I backed into the street, using my blinker and all. My father was taking his sweet time moving out of the driveway-note: without his blinker. I was getting worried another car would appear, and I would be in the way. My father had yet to make his decision, will he back out right, or left? These questions were left unanswered. So I tried to follow the classic advice: better safe than sorry. Well I still ended up sorry. Because I went to reverse to give him room to back out my direction. I backed up into the curb.

So I actually didn’t have any car damage. Sure my tire looked a bit scraped, but you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but by its contents. And my car drives fine- well as fine as it had before. What got damage was my ears from the lecture he gave me.

“Who runs over the curbs?”

“You didn’t have time to dilly dally in the street you should of. . . ”

“You can’t drive again until your license it renewed!”

Oh, I forgot that detail. My birthday was on February 13th, and I turned eighteen (happy late birthday to me) and if you have a drivers license before you’re eighteen, once you turn eighteen you have to renew it. For those who are patient, you can wait it out, get your first license after you’re eighteen, then you don’t have to go through the paper work more than once. Though keep in mind ,everyone’s license will expire and everyone will have to renew theirs (unless extenuating circumstances, there are those that say expiration indefinite), but at least you have longer than two years. Also, if you wait it out you don’t have to go through the permit process- another stop at the Department of Public Safety(DPS) you can avoid.

Now you may be wondering, why does she not like the DPS? Has she done something that’s put her on their unofficial blacklist? What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with her? I’ve had several friends who have lovely experiences with the DPS. “They were friendly, want you in and out service.” And they tried to get me in and out too- with the things I needed? Not quite.

Quick tidbit of knowledge about me. I’m adopted from China, raised in America, citizen of both. I AM an AMERICAN CITIZEN. I have a Texas birth certificate, and I have an U.S.A. passport. The DPS wouldn’t take my birth certificate, and they almost didn’t take my passport because it was two months over expiration. I was very fortunate that I even got my FIRST driver’s license. And to do it again: it doesn’t sound joyous.

I’m getting off topic, but I think this is some good general knowledge that a lot of teens don’t know about. That I didn’t know about until I got lectured about it. So I’m not just trying to save you from the DPS, but from your parents too. There are a thousand other things they can patronize you about, I’ll cover this one.

So my dad is telling me I have to get my Driver’s License renewed before I get into an accident and insurance won’t cover it because my license has expired. His advice is actually reasonable, but of course I’m an angsty teenager, so I show a hint of attitude. Why is it that when my brother bumps into a pole at the mall, and dents his whole side and needs DAYS in the auto shop, that he get’s a smack on the hand and that’s it, while I, for my first “accident” am getting a a whole spell of lecturing. Well his license isn’t expired now is it. Insurance will cover his mistakes- for mine, I basically hand them it on a gold platter.

Now there’s a plot twist in this story. I wrote the upper half of this story the morning of February 22, 2016. Which as I’m writing this, today. And all throughout the day I have had my phone next to me to check up on my status in line for the DPS license renewals. Yes I took my dad’s advice and was trying to get it taken care of quickly. I was telling all my friends how I was going to the DPS in the afternoon to get my license renewed. I showed them, how I had gotten online and was signed up for a place in line and notifications. I had put myself in line during second period, so approximately nine o’clock, because my friend who had renewed her’s recently had said she was put in line with a waiting time of eight hours. So I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up having to wait hours after school by myself in a room full of strangers, and I put myself in line. My waiting time? Twenty four minutes. Did I mention I was only in second period?

So what’s cool about these text updates, is unlike edmodo or remind101, you can reply to their messages. Well they’re more like commands: reply ‘S’ for status updates, ‘L’ leave the line, ‘M’ need more time, ‘W’ switch to voice call updates, and ‘N#’ for notify me number of minutes before. So I ended up my whole day, every so often sending commands back such as M 360, which is I need more time, I’ll be ready in six hours. Well the wait line was only as large as thirty minutes. But throughout the day, not only did I submit shorten length of times until I was ready, but the lines got longer. So during fifth period I was able to get on a wait time 120 minutes long.

The reason behind this? Not only was the day a Monday, and it was early in the morning, those are always bonuses, but it was raining. That alone knocked out a lot of my competition fighting for a spot in line. I bet if I had waited until seventh period, in which by that time people are getting close to getting off of work and the sun was shining brightly, I bet that I wouldn’t have gotten such a great time, and it gave me seniority since I had been waiting since nine in the morning for my turn.

So there’s my secure spot. Now only if I was that secure with myself. I drive three places a week: to school, to home, and to work, all of which are at most fifteen minutes away, and at the least, seven minutes away. I don’t do highways or freeways, and I barely do the feeder road. So now I had to drive somewhere I have never driven alone to before, and a route that I haven’t ever taken. Sure Siri was in my pocket, but my confidence was nowhere to be seen.

By the end of the school day I was a ball full of tension, and the caffeine I inadvertently took with my strawberry drink mix, wasn’t helping my jitters. I was just about to leave school to head towards the DPS (even though I had a fifty minute wait period and it would only take me fifteen minutes, I wanted to be prepared) when I saw one of my best friends, Esmeralda Cruz. She, like me, had seventh period off, and she was waiting for her mom to pick her up. I took no time in snatching her up. Thankfully she was on board to accompany me, giving me moral support.

And this is where the story makes a twist I hadn’t foretold. We had just exited the school parking lot, when my driving felt unusually bumpy. Was it the road, we wondered? It didn’t feel like the road. We took a detour and went to her house, which was luckily not even a three minute drive from the school. Once we entered her neighborhood- her newly paved neighborhood, we new it wasn’t the road causing the bumps. In her driveway we saw my left hind car wheel was utterly deflated. Two slit like marks, had punctured the wheel deeply.

“Karma” I had thought to myself, “you must be a boy, because your interest in me is too much to be a girl.”

flat tire inside view

My parents, I had shuttered at the thought of what they would say when they heard I just fulfilled their prophecy. Luckily they were kinder than I could hope for. Neither of them yelled, or worst, had that sad, disappointing voice that would smother me in guilt more than any strangling ever could. Sure they were frustrated with the situation, neither of them could come to my aid until five at the earliest and most likely later than that. But this is where I made my redemption. Or more like my friends came to my rescue.

Recap, the day this is happening is a Monday, and book clubs meet on Monday. Two members of the club are my friends Evan Matthews and Israel Bernal. Both of these guys have seventh and eighth period off, and Israel is with Evan for the ride back to school to make it to club. So I knew they would be together, and as the saying goes, two is better than one. It was truly the best package deal. Evan was generous enough to drive me and Esmeralda to the DPS where I was able to make my appointment with the help of the ‘M’ command, and the only documents I needed were a form that I had already filled out and printed via the Texas DPS website, and my expired license I still drove with. The wait, even though it said I had fifteen minutes to spare, probably took even half that time, and soon I was a legal driver once more. And once we got back to Esmeralda’s house, Israel changed my deflated tire with the spare(did you know that your spare could be in the bottom of your trunk?). It was a truly humbling experience having my friends come to my aid, and made an experience that alone, would have been terrifying,instead be manageable and even fun.
spare tire
There were a few things that I got corrected on that day. One, I actually had damaged my car. Two, the DPS workers can be quite efficient. And three, the DPS system isn’t always so unrelenting. These can really be summed up into a theme lesson I learned, that probably will give it a more philosophical meaning, that’s as cliche as it gets, and only get’s there with a long effort of stretching. Don’t make judgments too soon.

And that’s the story.