When Shiva got licensed…

It was a Wednesday evening, when I was watching a movie, that Shiva pinged. He had a Driving test for his US driving license the next day and needed to borrow my car… Generally being the generous kind, I agreed to drive him to the location of the DMV (equivalent of RTO) for his test.

He said the test was in Bellevue and at 1:15 PM and he had to be there at 1:00 PM. Knowing that the Bellevue office was only a 5-10 mins drive from my office, I asked him to come to my office at 12:30 PM, so that he could also get some time to drive and get used to my car before the test.

I made sure I had all documents inside my car the next morning before I headed to work. At 12:30 sharp, Shiva landed in my office. As we approached the DMV office, Shiva, observing that we were in a residential area asked me if he could drive around now. “Wait, let’s get to that place and you can drive from there” said I, in no mood to stop.

On reaching there however, all Shiva said was “This is not the place where I came for my computerized test”. “What crap! This is the Bellevue DMV, there is no other DMV in Bellevue” I asserted confidently although I could feel my confidence ebbing slowly. “No, no, I am sure, there were tall buildings all around the place”, said he as he pulled out the sheet with the details of the appointment. One look and I knew we were in the wrong place. The sheet said Kirkland! Now, the distance to Kirkland from the place in Bellevue I figured would be around 10-15 mins by drive, and it was already 12:50 after all the bickering. However, I had no idea how to get to the DMV office of Kirkland simply because I had no clue where it was in Kirkland.

I decided to start driving towards Kirkland while he got the address out from his smart-phone (Thank God for small mercies!). Now how would I get to the Freeway to Kirkland? I decided to take the first right that came up, and as I drove along that road, I realized I was in the vicinity of mhmehkri‘s house and soon I got the route and made it to Freeway 405.

During this time, Shiva looked up the address of that place and told me it was on NE 68th St. I knew 2 exits on the freeway, one to 85th St and the other to 124th St, which meant I needed to take the exit before the 85th, and see a number closer to 68th.

He looked up some directions giving website and gave me the directions from Kirkland to the DMV, which said Exit 17 and a right turn. I translated that to Exit 17 and a left turn as we were coming from the opposite direction. Managing to do that, we realized that we were now lost, but continued looking for street signs and were pleasantly surprised that we were on NE 68th st itself. Now, the no. It said 10639, and looking at a house which was in the 11000s, I asked Shiva to see numbers on my left and scream them out, soon there was a 10800s and I knew we were on the right direction. And then, out of nowhere the DMV turned up amid flat buildings. “Ah, now I remember, we went to the SSN office, which had tall buildings around it, the same day!”. “Yeah, right!, now you remember” said I. It was just past 1:00 PM now, and I shooed him off to go in and check in for the test.

The test happened promptly at 1:15 PM with a gangling elderly man and I waited it out near the office. I waited, and I waited, and it was a good 10 minutes and I got a tad worried. You could assume it was for my friend’s license, but if you’ve known me longer, you’d be wiser.

My car appeared finally out of nowhere and I was glad to note immediately that it didn’t have any more scratches or dents since the test began. The tester came out of the car and handed Shiva the yellow sheet about marks and points and I noticed a frown on Shiva’s face. I looked at the yellow sheet and it said he’d got 81/100, with 80 being the passing mark. “How come so less?” he was whining. On analyzing the sheet further, most of where he had lost marks said his driving had “danger potential” and “congestion potential”. Parallel parking was screwed, so was changing lanes, checking traffic while turning. But, I reminded him, “The key thing is you passed.”

Post the test we went in to collect his temporary license while they mail the final one later. As we waited, I asked Shiva about his recent apartment shift and if he had left a forwarding address for the postal department. He had no clue about it and I asked him what his official address was with most places. He said it was his former address from where no mails were getting forwarded to his new place. Okay, now this was something. I wondered what address they’d put on his license.

His no was called and he went up to the guy behind the counter, the size of who’s pot-belly needs to be seen to be believed! After a couple of minutes of avid discussion Shiva returned to inform me that since his new address has no proof, he can’t get his license now!

“Find out if you can come back later with this score and get it done!” I ordered. On further inquiry he was told that his score was now recorded and all he had to do was turn up with an address proof and get his license. Well, that saved his day.

Rest of the drive back to work, I lectured him about having proper mail forwarding and updating addresses to various departments/offices, only to have replies of “There is so much work in office, there is no time, how many forms can I fill, nothing works when I try to do somnething”…you know the rest…

Oh well, end of the day he got his license done. People with more driving experience have managed to fail on more normal days than this.

All is well that ends well I guess 🙂


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