Driving: How It’s Going


Beck Tate, Journalist

On February 23, 2023, I went to the DMV for my permit (knowledge) test. My appointment was at 2:30 PM, and I arrived at the Danbury DMV with roughly five minutes to spare until my booked appointment time would’ve expired and I (my parents) would be forced to pay another fifty-some-odd dollars for a twenty minute test spent staring at a screen and questioning why none of the sources I used to study truly helped me pass.

I walked into the DMV and was immediately greeted with terrible lighting (which is ironic because I feel like lighting should be important for a place that takes something as salient as your license; your ID, but what do I know?), an intense and very unwelcome feeling of melancholy and despair, and my old volleyball teammate, of all things. My friend (peer? acquaintance?) whose life I have not been involved in for over about two years now had just finished her own permit test, and did a stellar job at keeping my nerves and anxious tears at bay. 

Surprisingly, my name was called fairly quickly and I was sent up to the first kiosk with my father in tow. There, there was a nice lady who helped us (my dad) sort through various government papers. I was prompted to take my ID photo (which, at the time, I didn’t actually know would last until your first license expired) and thereafter got praised because I have dimples, and that’s always nice. When my dad and the nice lady finished doing whatever it is adults do (bearing in mind that I will be an adult in less than two years), I was brought back to the seat I’d left not fifteen minutes ago, and came to the horrific reality that my friend (?) had left (horrific in that selfish sense that I no longer have a crutch to lean on, not in a “I miss you” kind of way).

There was a vision test before the knowledge test, which I don’t think I was truly consciously aware of until it happened, but it happened, nevertheless, and I was told to look through a telescope like contraption by a man with a heavy accent (maybe from Boston, or New York) that questioned my father and I on our origins due to reading something vital on my scary government papers. I was instructed to, tragically, leave my phone and headphones with my father and walk behind the shelf and into a small square cubicle to take my test. Inside things were quiet, dull, but real, and I knew what I was doing and I suppose that gave me all the excitement and determination I needed to pass. Because (after scolding the questions rather than myself when it messed up) I did pass. Clicking the ‘Submit’ button was immediately followed by a congratulations from the man with the accent, and going right back to the seat I originally came for to wait for my name to be called again.

After doing whatever was needed with the last of my documents (adult things I am unequipped to know thus far) I skipped, literally, out the door and stopped only when I reached my parents, waiting in the car, with the front seat open for me to drive on the open road (I drove less than two blocks down the road).

Since retaining my learner’s permit, it’s been a lot of narrowly avoiding getting into car crashes (sorry, Dad, but, it’s the truth), spontaneous trips back home with me in the driver’s seat after stopping on the side of the road to switch seats, and driving myself to and from Wooster School for volleyball practice every Monday and Tuesday night at 7:00 and again at 9:15-ish. Driving is still new, I can’t rev smoothly as my brother nor can I turn as seamlessly as my sister, but every time I get behind the wheel I’m one step closer to screaming the lyrics of my favorite song (at the moment) at the top of my lungs with fast food in the car, on the way to pick up my best friend for no other reason than I can. That’s more than enough to keep me trying to improve and better myself for things like highways, or longer road trips in the future, and ultimately keep myself and any passenger in the car with me alive.