Sunday, 1 June 2014

Seventeen Year Old Responsibilities

Yes, Chad turned seventeen 3 weeks ago and I never posted about his birthday. I am bad like that. I did mention it over here and put up a Happy Birthday Post but that is about all. We did not do much, we just went out to dinner and again his present was something he already had, but did not actually get on his birthday. I mentioned in this post that Chad has an Uno Turbo and every time I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said "nothing, I am getting my Uno". The more I tried to tell him that the Uno was not a present, because a) he put money towards it, money from his bike he sold and b) he had the Uno for awhile, the more he insisted that the Uno was his present. As I said in this post it was a project car. The "project" part of it was for his birthday and as his luck has it and our luck in general, the car was not done by his birthday. I bought him a nice jacket and some shoes and clothes for his birthday, so that he had a present on his birthday at least. The Mag Wheels and the rest of the project was only completely finished last week.

Chad's Uno Turbo
I tease him all the time and say it is Barney's Purple Car and he needs to get his Barney that he had as a baby out from the boxes at the top of the cupboard and stick him on the back boot cover. He insists the car is not purple (I know it is not purple) but I keep saying it is and because Mark is colour blind, Chad is almost convinced I may just be right and that he is colour blind like his dad. Chad I hope you are not reading this.

The Mag Wheels
With cars come responsibilities and what Chad was looking forward to the most was booking for his learners when he turned seventeen. He never went to school on his birthday, we went to book for his learners instead. The ultimate would have been to write his actual learners on his birthday, but these days you cannot book until you are actually the age you are supposed to be when you book - "the computer says......". It is so frustrating because the "computer" does not understand that you will be 17 when you do the actual test. I am sure there are towns that do have "computers" that understand - just not ours and although it is not as frustrating as when Clint had to do his license it is far more frustrating than it should be.

Learner's License Booking
We arrived at around 7.15 where we were met, even before we had parked, by an avalanche of people descending on us with offers of assistance. Of course these are not people who work at the department - if only!!. They are people who make a living taking photos, lending out pens, making photocopies and even directing you - at a cost. Like Chad said, mom you can get anything here if you have money. We were even offered an actual learners - at a cost I am sure, we never entered into discussions around that though. We just waved them away, had photos taken and joined the queue. Gates opened at 7.30 and we all followed the line like sheep to the slaughter, not knowing what to do or where to go, but like sheep we arrived at our destination and received a form with a number on it and told to attach an ID Copy. We never brought a pen, I should have known that I needed a pen, the copy of ID I did not know about or could not remember needing. We went out onto the street to now go and drive to a place that does photocopies or home.

Again we were met by a hoard of helpful people outside. There was a minivan across the street that did copies for R6.00, that was easy enough. Now for a pen. We could not buy a pen, but someone would fill in the form for us for a cold drink. He filled in the form with some talk about getting a license "quicker" again we were just grateful for the use of the pen and we paid him R10.00 - he wanted more, but I said I had to go get another photocopy and had no more money. I see a business opportunity for someone - selling pens outside the licensing department. We had to make another copy, because Chad was doing his learners for a car and bike. We then went back inside the property and wandered around with the rest of the sheep wandering where to go and what to do. We joined a queue and another lady found out we get called by our number on the form. That was a huge relief as we were number 27 and 28 (bike and car are separate forms), but about 50 in the confused queue. Finally it was the eye test done then the payment queue. The staff who work there give you very limited information and we discover we are in the payment queue, but need to get a date first. This is obtained through a window of the building we are queuing outside. Some man who works there recognized Chad and asked if he had a booking and told him to go to said window.

I stayed in the payment queue, the lady from earlier who found out how the queuing system worked was behind me and she went home quickly (apparently not that far) to go get more money. The licenses are R108.00 each. Chad had to wait and wait for a booking - others were just asking for dates and were getting the requested dates. It turns out it was the bike learners that was the problem. It was my fault, because I was forcing Chad to get a license for a bike that he is not allowed to ride - The Dilemma Of The Bike. I am sure Chad was planning on doing both - in fact I know he was, he was just making me feel bad. Just as I let the lady behind me, who was now back from her trip home, go ahead of me, Chad received both his dates. We arrived at the payment window and the man behind the counter after adding Chad's info to the computer says "Happy Birthday." Chad was a bit astounded and did not quite hear him or think that he would be saying Happy Birthday, said I beg your pardon and he said Happy Birthday, its your birthday today. The friendliest and only friendly face during the 2 hour 20 minute procedure, besides the people outside - the photographers; the photocopiers and the pen owners. Turns out we did not need photos - not on that day anyway. As we left the gates were closed for the day - no more people were allowed in after 9.30 - strange, but true. When I renewed my license in 2012, the gates were locked at 10.30.

Chad - Not Studying

Now to get Chad to study. I have warned him that I won't go through that again, so he has to study and pass. It was only two and a bit hours this time, when I renewed my license in 2012, I arrived just before 8 and left at around 2pm - the whole day wasted, so it could have been worse, it just depends on the day you go. I can't offer these as tips for booking your learners, because apparently all test stations are different, but yes that is the procedure for the test station we went to.  We have not even progressed to the computer testing system and it is still pencil and paper for us AND we fall under the Greater City Of Johannesburg - small coastal towns have already progressed, not us.

That was Chad turning seventeen and going through an important milestone in his life

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