Stef Gets A License… Again

“It’s really not that hard,” she asked as she approached the examiner. She was expecting him to minimize her angst. Instead he told her a lot of people flunk!

DMV_thumb.jpgStef is getting settled in California. She called yesterday to relay word she’d gotten her California driver’s license. She had to take a written test! In California that’s the law.

  • It’s ALWAYS good to hear from your child
  • The test was hard

“It’s unfair,” she said.

Her point was she needed to take the test while her grandfather, who until yesterday couldn’t see to the end of his outstretched arm, gets automatic renewals by mail. Oh Stefanie. What you don’t know about Florida politics, seniors and driving&#185!

This was her second trip to the DMV. The first time through she waited 45 minutes to be told her Connecticut license not only isn’t good enough to get a bye on the written test, it isn’t good enough for identification either! She needed something like a passport… which she had… just not with her.

Back yesterday and fully documented Stef made her way to the station where the written test was administered. She sat and watched as the two people in front of her took the test… and failed. Oh crap!

“It’s really not that hard,” she said (though she said it as a question) as she approached the examiner. She was expecting him to minimize her angst. Instead he told her a lot of people flunk!

“I checked it over more than any test in college,” she said on the phone yesterday. This didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies over her college career, but I understand.

  • A driver’s license is very important
  • No one wants to make three trips to the DMV

Administered on paper the test runs 35 questions. She was asked about the age and height necessary to graduate from a car seat and where to sit for maximum airbag efficacy.

Would you pass?

Luckily Stef had visited the DMV website and looked at some sample tests. She got 32 of 35 right. In return they punched a hole in her Connecticut card and gave her a piece of paper to hold her the month or two until the real license comes.

Life seems good for Stef in Cali. Even from this distance I’m watching her adapt and grow.

For the remainder of her life she will avoid the DMV like the plague!

&#185 – The point is now moot because at this moment my father can read without glasses–something his son cannot do! I can’t mention that enough. It’s an amazing event and I am thrilled for my folks.

Car Chases

Is it news? That’s a tougher question.

“I don’t do crack, but I think this is probably what it’s like.”

The quote is from Helaine. She said it as I was scrambling to leave the house and drive to work. She was referring to today’s Dallas, TX police chase.

“There should be a channel with only this,” she added.

They are addictive even though they’re entirely predictable. Attention miscreants: If you hear a copter overhead, pull over. You’re done.

I knew what Helaine was talking about because the chase was on the TV in the bedroom as I got dressed. MSNBC’s anchors were quizzing a Texas police dispatcher. They seemed more interested than he was.

dallas-chase-crash.jpgIt was a “routine traffic stop,” the dispatcher said. In some quarters those words are considered cover for police as they hassle minorities. In any event the driver took off and led police across the Dallas area for a few hours before running through an intersection and getting slammed by a pickup truck.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a follow-up. When the perp was caught the story ended.

Why is this stuff covered? People watch–that’s the easy answer.

Is it news? That’s a tougher question. MSNBC and others were following it without knowing any off the underlying factors. They were not following a crime or criminal as much as they were following a chase.

In the past I’ve referred to this as soft core porn for newsrooms. My opinion hasn’t changed.

I Forgot A Plug

I’m at Gate 4 at Bradley International. Across the hall is Gate 3 where our lone transatlantic flight used to park–sad.

The trip up was uneventful… well except for that moment when I realized I’d forgotten my cellphone charger! Luckily the BlackBerry uses a standard mini-USB. I can find one of those!

Things are quiet. I was the only one in the van from the parking lot. The driver overheard my conversation with Helaine and commented how it sounded like we had a good relationship. Yup.

This is a low stress flight for me. In fact my biggest worry has been whether to sit at the window or aisle. I’m thinking aisle for the convenience. I suspect if you look out the window too much you’re perceived as a gomer.

Mothers Day

It’s Mothers Day. I thought everyone was supposed to be on-the-road visiting mom?

Doesn’t anyone love mom anymore? It’s Mothers Day. We drove to Long Island to see Stef and so we could begin taking stuff back from her soon-to-be abandoned dorm room.

In the car, we left Connecticut around 10:00 AM and with the exception of a slowdown where I-91 empties into I-95 rolled smoothly all the way to campus. We must have made exceptional time because Stef wasn’t ready.

Even our late breakfast at a normally busy diner started with immediate seating (and then lackluster service).

It’s Mothers Day. I thought everyone was supposed to be on-the-road visiting mom? Decades ago this was the day long distance phone service use to break down under immense strain! Restaurants would turn away patrons. Everyone would see mom. Where were they?

This was the day to roll out a new GPS–a Garmin nĂ¼vi 260W. I bought it ‘factory refurbished’ on Amazon. If it is less than new, it is so in a way I can’t see.

I suctioned it to the wndshield and let it lead the way even though we could do this trip in our sleep.

I know GPS units are ubiquitous, but can we step back for a second and marvel?

  • It knows where we are.
  • It knows virtually all the streets in America and has a reasonable expectation of how fast or slow travel on each of them will be.
  • It can figure out a route in a few seconds, though there are essentially an infinite number of routes to choose from.
  • It presents a map which is constantly updated while it’s doing its other jobs.
  • It does all this while tracking a constellation of satellites whose signals are so weak it only knows they are there because the noise in its receiver is no longer truly random.

Yes, its guesses at pronunciation sometimes leaves something to be desired, The Meadowbrook Parkway is called “Muh-DO-brook.” Others names are equally bollixed, but not enough to make them undecipherable. And it calls out the streets in a myriad of voices and accents. It is cleverly useful.

Look around as you drive and see how many cars have one stuck where the driver can watch it. It is no longer the exception.


Ding Goes The Car

“Can you take bad news before you go on-the-air,” Jose asked? I wanted to go look but he yelled “sixty seconds” and I turned back to the set.

I was just thinking a few days ago about how lucky I’ve been to have my car remain unscathed for over ten years… until today. Someone backing out of a space at work backed into my driver’s side door.

It looks minor, though who knows in this day-and-age?

The newscast was on-the-air when it happened. Word was passed to our assignment desk and then to Jose, who was running ‘the floor.’

“Can you take bad news before you go on-the-air,” Jose asked? I wanted to go look but he yelled “sixty seconds” and I turned back to the set.

Terry, who hit my car was more shaken up than I was. Amazingly, for me, I was pretty calm. She didn’t aim for me. It’s just a car. It can/will be repaired. Life will go on.

Boy–that is calm for me.

We Nearly Got Killed On The Way To Our Vacation

By the time we’d seen the car it was too late. Had I been in my normal spot we’d be dead.

The title is serious. We almost got killed on I-91 just north of Hartford! I didn’t tell the story during our vacation because it was a little too spooky.

It was just before 5:00 AM last Saturday and we were northbound to Bradley. The road was dark. There was light traffic. I was doing around 70 mph. I’m usually a left lane driver, but was in the center as we passed the highway jumble that is Hartford.

“Look out,” Helaine yelled.

I turned my head left and for less than a second watched a car approach and then pass me. He was in the northbound left lane but he was heading soutbound at a high rate of speed! We probably passed each other at 150 mph.

For a moment neither Helaine nor I could get the image out of our minds. By the time we’d seen the car it was too late. Had I been in my normal spot we’d be dead.

I grabbed her hand and we proceeded silently for a moment. Then I picked up my cell and dialed 911.

“He’s probably in Downtown Hartford by now,” I told the State Police dispatcher. I dialed our TV station’s newsroom next.

Jason, a producer, answered. “Call the State Police in a few minutes,” I said. “Check and see if anything happens.”

All we could do was hope the driver figured out what was going on and exited the highway. There was no reported accident.

When it’s your time, it’s your time. It wasn’t ours yet.