After you get your Learner’s Permit to drive an automobile in the State of Virginia, there are still a few things that must be done before you can legally obtain a driver’s license. First, there is a lovely driver’s education course to take, a set number of hours to drive while supervised and then THE test at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
After that, it’s all done.
Many months must pass and eventually a letter from the county is sent requesting the driver and his/her parent(s) for a special presentation given by a judge. This is a requirement by the state of Virginia. Actually, it is a law that everyone under the age of 21 must attend a presentation given by a judge before obtaining the permanent driver’s license. Alyssa and I vaguely remember this process. Well, we remembered months ago, but had long since forgotten the part where we had to go see the judge.
This is what happened.
My phone rings at work.
After my usual long greeting, I hear Alyssa’s voice.
“Mom, tonight is that judge thing,” she said all panicky.
I immediately try to recall some show that might be coming on the television with a judge.
“What judge thing?” I asked her.
“That judge thing so that I can get my real license!”
Slowly the long forgotten memory of a “judge thing” came to my mind as Alyssa jabbered on with all the details.
“Okay, I will meet you at home and we will drive together.”
The call ended and I tried to plan how I would make everything fit in one evening.
Alyssa and I are sitting side by side after being herded into a large auditorium with 350 students and 350 parents, two police officers and a judge. The handsome judge was saying, “Driving a car is a privilege. Vehicles are dangerous weapons and until the age of 18, your parents can legally take possession of your license.”
With each factual threat, a large number of parents turn or jerk their heads to look at their child. I was thinking, “If you feel that THIS speech by the judge validates your parental authority, you’ve already lost your power and you lack a strong relationship with you child.” I didn’t turn my head to look at Alyssa. I knew that she knew the right things to do in a car and that her life and other lives depended on her driving safely.
The judge was still speaking, so I tried to focus on his words. “I’m going to call your names one by one to come down and get your license. Come down this aisle and leave through that door” he said pointing to his right.
I turned to Alyssa and said, “I bet you’re the last!” and we both laugh.
The judge starts calling names – randomly.
Alyssa points out the people she knows from school.
I talk about beautiful hair, ugly shirts, bad hair cuts and the lack of handsome men.
The judge keeps calling names.
Alyssa and I are silent with interspersed outbreaks of laughter.
Parents and students alike do not use the correct aisles as directed. We both say, “Stupid people” almost simultaneously.
The judge keeps calling names.
“You jinxed me,” Alyssa said, “and I’m going to be last.”
“No way! That just can’t happen to us because I’m starving!”
The judge is still calling names of students to come to the front.
It seems like every name ever created has been called. I’m so tired of listening the drone of never ending names.
I turned around and saw about fifty people left in this huge room. Alyssa and I look at each other in disbelief.
Finally, NEXT TO LAST, the judge calls Alyssa’s name to come up front and get her permanent license.
I cheer! Why not? The room was empty and it was late! I could not believe it.
The judge said, “You’ve won a prize.”
With a smirky grin he said, “It will be easy to get out of the parking lot because everyone else is gone.”
Smarty pants judge.