Driving Mlle Miquelon – Part 1: In The Beginning

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
driving mlle miquelon part 1 in the beginning

I learned to drive in a Chevy Caprice wagon similar to the one above back in my high school driver’s ed class (circa 1995). It was brown with red interior (don’t hold me to the interior colouring, though), had an instructor’s brake, and its twin was white. Every morning I drove, I would walk from my home about a mile to my old elementary school, waiting for my instructor to pull out of the nearby school district vehicle pool with the Caprice, allowing me to take the wheel to my high school’s parking lot for extra practice.

While I did well in the textbook portion of the course, I received Cs and Ds, managing a B- on the final day of driving. The instructor was worried about my limited skills behind the wheel, and rightfully so; Mom didn’t even own a car, and to this day has yet to obtain her license.

I did get my license, and held onto it until shortly after moving to Washington State, whereupon I foolishly gave up my license.

Why? I still didn’t have a car — never had the means to purchase or maintain one — so it made sense to let that go. At least I lived in an area with decent mass transit, so I had that. That said, it was very stupid to give that privilege up.

I’ve been back in Louisville for over four-and-a-half years, returning home after a 29-year-long absence. My city’s transit is as decent as the one back in Tacoma, but that really depends on where you live in the city/county mashup. I also have family in Virginia, Florida and Kansas, necessitating that I fly, then be picked up.

That last part bothers me, especially if no one really wants to do anything. What if I want to explore Christiansburg (Virginia)? What if I want to see how much my old hometown (Augusta, Kansas) has changed? The latter doesn’t even have bus service from nearby Wichita; don’t even get me started on how horrible Wichita’s mass transit is.

So, that leaves me with only one option: Get my license back.

Last summer, I re-took the first step, renewing my permit I obtained three years’ earlier.

I honestly thought I would literally have to take the written test again, which involved going to a touchscreen terminal, and answering the questions correctly. Get enough right, and I would have a new permit.

Nope. All that studying of my old manual — the commonwealth’s budget is so shot that no new ones have been printed in quite some time — was all for naught. All I needed was to show up at the office at Bowman Field, pay my $12 USD, have my photo taken, and that’s it!

So, where am I now? Hoping I’ll find enough money for lessons soon. Having my last employer close their doors via Chapter 7 last summer didn’t exactly help matters. Maybe opening my high-end luxury clothing boutique in a former service station would help? Anyway, that’s where I’m at.

Who knows, though. I may end up on a scooter the way fuel prices are heading; everyone has suggested I obtain one. A motorcycle would be cooler, but that requires a driver’s license, then a motorcycle license. C’est la vie.

Photo credit: Greg Gjerdingen/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0 and Cameron Aubernon

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2 of 44 comments
  • Tallnikita Tallnikita on May 02, 2012

    The long way: learn to weld, build a go-kart, go racing, hopefully your racing buddies will let you drive their real cars after you beat them on the track. Or become a rally car navigator with hopefully same result.

  • Parkwood60 Parkwood60 on May 03, 2012

    Huh, my wife didn't get her license out here in California till she was about 30. I don't remember her ever taking a lesson. She nearly failed the eye chart portion until she started to tear up and the guy giving her the test took pity on her. The point is different states have different rules, but there is a reciprocity rule. If you could find a state where a family member lives with less stringent rules I bet you could claim you lived there take the test and be done with it. ...oddly enough, looking at your permit, the 2 of you have the exact same DOB, which if I were you I would black out since its pretty useful if you are trying to steal your identity.

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