Dec 20, 2012

Learner's Permit - good news, bad news and a good news again


"You have got six wrong answers", the official at the Fort Collins Driving Motor Vehicle (DMV) office evaluated my written test paper and said. I paused briefly making an observation of him until he continued.

"We can allow only five", he said, looking into my eyes. I let out a sigh. When I was mentally preparing myself to leave, he continued "we can allow you to take one more test today, or you can apply for a re-test tomorrow. Which one do you prefer?"

I jumped at the opportunity and said, "I will take one more test today". The officer smiled, took another question paper containing 25 questions on both sides and said, "Do you want to take a look at the wrong ones?"

"Sure", I said and found the correct answers marked against the wrong ones I made. After a few moments, I collected the new question paper and soon found it to be tougher than the previous one. It took about ten minutes for me to finish answering all the questions. I waited for my turn at the counter for getting my test paper evaluated.

A lady officer at a different counter than previous one called me when my turn came. She observed three wrong answers even before I submitted. "Damn! I'm not going to get my learner's permit today", I muttered under my breath.

She collected the test paper from me, marked the three wrong answers and turned to the second page. "Wrong", she said again marking a question with correct choice.

"God, please don't make me come again tomorrow for a re-test", my mind made a silent prayer.

"You have got four wrong answers", she said after evaluating my paper. "Am I allowed to make five mistakes in the second test?", I wanted to ask when she said "you passed".

"You have to pass the vision test before you get the learner's permit", she said and ordered me to look into the eye piece. I moved to the vision test instrument, and peered into the eyepiece. "Read the number displayed inside", she said. A four digit number was moving in a zig zag fashion inside. I adjusted my eyes and read the number. "Now tell me the color which is displayed inside".

"Green...orange...green...red...green...orange".

"Which side does the color blinks?"

"Left, now right"

"Ok. You passed", she said. I felt relieved for the first time. She collected my passport and entered my test results on her computer screen.

When I felt too excited, she said, "your passport details is not yet entered into our database". I looked calmly at her waiting for the next step.

She filled my case number and other details in a form and asked me to visit any of the six Driving License offices where they have a counter for Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E) and submit my immigration papers within the next 30 days.

I saw the case sheet and found that the S.A.V.E office is opened only on Wednesdays, between 8.30AM and 3.00PM, the nearest one being located at about 65 miles from Fort Collins. Fortunately, my fellow labmate offered me a help to drive me to the Lakewood Driving License office, but unable to take me on the first Wednesday due to his final exams.

"Do you want to go to the DMV office today", he texted me yesterday. I noted the time on my watch. It was 1.30 PM. "I think we can't make it today. Its already 1.30 and the office will be closed at 3 PM", I replied. "Let's give it a try", he replied.

He picked me up at 1.45 PM, hit the I25 around 2.00. I checked the GPS Navigation in my mobile and found it will take 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach the place.

We drove in silence observing the snow covered landscape. When we took the exit 210A and drove towards Pierce street where the License office was located, I checked my watch. We had about 7 minutes!

We skipped the block searching for it, took detour, went inside and parked. Four more minutes, I said and hasted towards the entrance.

"Do you have all the copies listed here?", the lady at the check in counter asked me pointing at the case sheet.

"Yes", I replied, followed her instructions and took my token.

As soon as I entered the office, my token number was displayed on the screen asking me to proceed towards a counter. I went to the counter and showed my case sheet. "Damn! I forgot to bring a self addressed envelope!"

"May I see the originals?", the officer at the S.A.V.E counter asked me to verify the copies I gave to him. "Do you have a self addressed envelope?", he asked.

"I am sorry. I was in a rush and forgot to bring it", I replied. "I can see it. You made it just in time", he replied with a smile. He took an envelope from his table drawer and asked me to write my address on it. I was ready to pay for it if he were to ask me, but he didn't.

He collected the copies and my case sheet, entered the data in his computer screen, took print out of a receipt and said, "you will receive a mail from us in one or two weeks time saying if you are eligible or not. If you are eligible, you can visit any of the DMV to collect your learner's permit", he said.

I thanked him, observed him closing the counter and left.

"Its done", I made a gesture to my friend who was waiting inside the car.

"What about the self addressed envelope?", my wife asked as soon as I entered into the car.

"The officer inside gave me an envelope and asked me to write my address on it", I replied. 

"Good that he din't ask you to pay for it", she replied.

"But, how did you know?"

"You left your wallet with me!", came a reply from her with a smile.