Thursday, 18 March 2010

I am now an Official Texan

Today I passed my driving test! Texas insists that you take its own personal driving test if you move from a different country, cheerfully disregarding the previous decade of driving experience you may have accumulated. Still, at least they don't take your UK drivers licence and shred it in front of you, as happens if you move from another state. I'm not sure I could have coped with the trauma.

The plus side of a decade of being behind a wheel is that this was considerably less nerve-wracking than my original test. It was also a lot easier, involving one parallel parking maneuver and a 10-minute drive around some almost empty streets. Unfortunately the Texas Department of Public Safety appears to be allergic to the appointment system. So you line up to be given some forms to fill out and a number. When your number is called you stand in another line to have your photo taken and do the computer-based test. You then get in your car and wait in a third line until a driving tester is ready for you. Assuming you pass, you then join the second line again to receive your temporary licence. It can take all day. We were lucky. We were done in three hours.

The major upshot of all this waiting around is that I now can buy an alcoholic drink without some puzzled bartender squinting at my strange pink British licence, trying to work out which random number is my date of birth. Businesses can be strangely pernickety about this ("I was only trained for Texas I.D") and I've heard stories about people presenting their passport in a supermarket only to be refused purchase. This is a passport. It entitles you to entry to entire countries, for goodness sake, and yet you can't use it to buy a bottle of wine in some two-bit grocery store? Nope, if you don't have a Texas licence, this here booze ain't going nowhere.

Don't drink and drive, folks!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you've adopted Official Texan spelling too, with no o in maneuver!

Love Dad