Phone a Friend - 8/22/06
I lost my driver's license last weekend. No, it wasn't speeding-ticket-induced; I've actually been very good about speeding since the Roadtrip. I lost it the old-fashioned way - by being an idiot. Thus, I had to return to my favorite place in the world: the DMV.

If there is a place more representative of humanity than the DMV, I'd like to hear it. All races and classes must go there, even people who can't drive, to get State ID cards or after being cruelly tricked into coming along to "keep someone company". My visit involved relatively little waiting (for the DMV, anyway: less than an hour), and I was able to renew my Driver's License for five years, which was nice because I was going to have to renew it in a few months anyway. To do that, however, I had to first pass a written driver's exam. And to pass the written driver's exam, I had to cheat.

The California Driver's test alternates between mostly easy questions (What do you do at a stop sign? A) Stop. B) Go. C) Set something on fire) and an occasional very hard question (What is the statutory speed limit in business districts? A) 25 mph B) 30 mph C) 35 mph D) Trick question). Unfortunately you can only get three questions wrong out of twenty, so you have get at least a couple of these hard questions right to pass.

As someone who hasn't taken Driver's Ed for ten years and is too cocky to actually study for this test, I wasn't fully confident that I'd answered 17 out of 20 questions correctly. The deciding question was the California blood alcohol limit… which, thankfully, I haven't ever needed to test. When I grew up in Minnesota, I think it was .10, but when I was in college in Illinois, it was .08. Not being sure about CA, I decided to play it safe. I decided to phone a friend.

They don't allow talking on cell phones in the testing area, but I don't think they've figured out text-messaging yet. I quickly T9ed into my phone "What's the DUI limit in CA, .08 or .10?" and sent it to a friend. Two friends, actually - I figured both roommate Sean and friend Sam would know the answer and be bored enough to respond.

They both did - I had two responses back within a minute that the answer was .08. I quickly bubbled this, turned in my test, and got my license renewed.

Have kids in school figured this one out yet?

My license won't come in the mail for another couple of weeks, so I can't go to bars without having to use a ridiculous combo of expired passport and student ID that makes me look like a terrorist. But maybe this is a good thing, as alcohol probably contributed to my losing my ID in the first place.

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