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So, since my last fairly non-post, things happened. Lots of things. But more on that later, as the day before yesterday marked the 25th and one week anniversary since I got my drivers license (in Australia as it happened).

Now a drivers license in Australia (and the UK as it happens) is just one piece of ID. There are plenty of others that will do in a pinch for bank accounts, flying, and drinking. Actually, you really need more than just the drivers license for all but drinking, and most require a federally issued ID like a passport or something similar. Additionally, most countries allow for reciprocal License schemes so you can get one if you’re licensed elsewhere.

I mention this boring background detail for pure dramatic effect as the day before yesterday, I applied for my US drivers license.

You’d think the fact that I’ve been driving for 25 years, driven successfully in 8 countries (crossed about 4 of them in a car, and yes, driven on both sides of the road) and driven across more states of America than most Americans have would count for some small modicum of leniency… but no. Unless I’m canadian or 1 or 2 other very specific countries of origin, I’m required to start from scratch as if I’m a spotty faced 16 year old ready for his first license (and yes, I am spotty faced but freckles don’t count).

So I arrive at the license office, at 7:45 am to get before the 8am opening rush and make sure I’m there on time. There are already 53 people in the queue. I’m apparently 3 hours late to get in early. And no, the doors have not opened yet. At this point I’ll mention the capacity (strictly enforced) of the waiting room is 38 persons. As the doors opened I’m left with the other 40 odd other people (the line had grown considerably) outside to wait in the sun (which was surprisingly pleasant at that time, especially considering the future waiting).

At 8:30am I was finally allowed into the hallowed halls to wait in the “inside queue” which was especially pleasant as Texas summers are not cool. I arrived at the front of the “pre-waiting queue” to collect my waiting number at 9am.

I’ll note I was given ticket number 404 and was mildly concerned a computer glitch had me as not found. I’ll also make a very grateful note that the licensing office, unlike the social security office (which is another story entirely), does allow the use of electronic devices so I was entertained and in touch with my office and working very very hard (hi boss who reads this blog).

At 10:30am I was finally seen to a bored new employee who needed frequent assistance.

Another side note here because it’s relevant. I can actually continue to drive in the USA on my Australian license (and international supplement) for another 1.5 years and extend that where necessary. Unfortunately, to acquire a credit card, drink in a bar, or fly domestically I need a license (my passport is often not accepted). I also need to rent cars a lot for my work and a US license is easier for this. Also not accepted for all of the above (and purchasing handguns FYI) is my federally issued greencard ID which took two and a half years to acquire, required multiple interviews, background checks and stupid amounts of paperwork, and cost several thousand dollars.

So back to the bored new employee who was about to issue my license (the most frequently forged ID in the US) for $25 with 2 small tests which would give me the ability to drink, fly, have credit and own a handgun.

She directed me to the computer test which was strangely easy. The first question was to choose my name of a list of four that I was fairly sure I got correct, then to pick my birthday of a list of four similar birthdays IN CASE I’D FORGOTTEN WHO I WAS FOR A MOMENT! I did miss a few questions on things like “what is the maximum fine for an underage drinker” which oddly enough I didn’t study much and WHO NEEDS TO KNOW THIS TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE! I’m fairly sure that my driving does not depend on me knowing the maximum fines for any infringement, not to mention those that are under half my age.

After passing this with flying colours in 5 minutes (it’s my damn blog, i’m allowed to gloat when I want), I was sent back to queue.

At 11:30 I was finally seen by the people who could test my driving. Asking when I’d be able to be tested produced a timeframe in the 4 hour mark. Unfortunately and rather strangely, I’d only allotted a few hours to be away and I needed to head back home (J needed the car at 1:30pm) so I promised to book online for the next day (yesterday) and hoped I’d be out by xmas. I asked about if it was better to do a walk in test or book online and they said it didn’t matter.

What they neglected to tell me both then and online was that I could have avoided ALL of that wait by applying online, walking in, and being served in 10 minutes which is what I did the following day. Yay bureaucracy!

10 minutes after I arrived the following day I was seated in my wife’s car with an instructor literally half my age (I checked) who promptly proceeded to tell me how to check my mirrors as if I’d not been doing it for 25 years (admittedly mirrors and I haven’t been friends for a while but that’s no reason not to use them to see other things).

End result, I passed, I have a drivers license. I did get a few points lost though I was informed if I didn’t then it would be “suspicious” so “they had to fail me on some things” because, you know, this is the ID that means everything in the world in the US so there’s no reason anyone would lie on it. I now have an easily photoshoppable piece of letter sized printer paper with a black and white print on it which is a certified US document which will get me guns, alcohol, flights and credit if I need it.  It does expire in 3 weeks when I’ll get my plastic card but there’s absolutely no chance anyone could… say… scan the the document, modify the expiry date, and use that to identify themselves as whoever they want to get firearms, flights or credit… but no one would ever do that.

You go America.

Originally published at TimmieSaurus. You can comment here or there.