Monday, February 3, 2014

30/01/14

Items In My Mailbox Today: Nothing Good!

Item #1: Notice of My Expiring Driver's License. . .


Oh shoot me now . . .

Here's the thing: I don't have a full Canadian driver's license. I know the classification system is different in the states than how it is in Canada, so let me give you a sample of how things work in Ontario:

Once you're 16 years old, you qualify for a G1 license. What you need to do to get said license is to pass a vision and written test, and that's it. There's absolutely no driving component at this stage. Once you have this you can drive with somebody in the front seat that has had their full G license for at least 4 years.

In order to get your G2 license, which will permit you to drive on your own (as long as it's not on major highways, from what I understand), you need to first have your G1. Then, you can either get professional driving lessons, in which case you only have to wait for 8 months to take a driving test to earn your G2. If you decide to not get lessons, you have to wait 12 months.

From there you can earn your G license, which is a full license. I honestly can't remember how long you have to wait until you can get your G license, it might be a year or two, and I'm not completely sure if you have to complete another driving test or if it's just another written component. As you can tell, it's been a long time since I picked up one of these handbooks.

I only have my G1, and truth be told I never held any desire to earn that much. Back when I was 16 (it was the summer I was due to turn 17, actually), my brother made me take some tests online and then took me with him, because he needed to get his F-class license (which applies to the ambulance he drives now). He wasn't even able to get his license that day, but I had to go through waiting in the lines and taking the tests - both vision and written I came very close to failing - and so I have my G1.

(Expectation Versus Reality - sort of)

The only time I've ever been behind the wheel was immediately after I got my G1 and my brother took me back to Welland and to the sports complex parking lot in order to give me a basic driving lesson. He showed me a few basics, like how to refill the wiper fluid and what the basic parts are under the hood, and then we actually tried driving.

My brother's car at the time, an older Ford Focus, scared me a bit. Its engine was always so loud, it sounded like there was a lot of power behind it. My brother kept insisting that my mother's 2005 Windstar van had a lot more power to it, but I'm still not sure I believe him. Either way, I didn't really enjoy the experience. Even though we were alone in a big, open space, I was still incredibly nervous, I was feeling pretty high strung, so when I decided to abruptly put it to an end, I was relieved.

When people ask me about my one and only experience with driving, I tend to tell them that I nearly killed my brother, because I swerved to miss a seagull, not knowing that apparently you are not supposed to do that. The part about swerving around the seagull was true, although in reality he wasn't any danger, given that we were in a big, empty parking lot. Even so, I feel the story justifies my lack of a real license or any discernible driving experience when curious people question me about it.

However, there is a snag to having your G1 for as long as I have - it will be 5 years come July. These types of licenses expire, and when they do, you have to re-take the vision and written test all over again, and that includes paying the $100+ all over again. And that 8 to 12 month waiting period to take the G2 test starts all over again as well. My mother is going to be pretty insistent that I get my G2 before my G1 expires. One reason it hasn't happened is that taking real driving lessons is something that will lower my insurance rates, which would be rather helpful, only driving lessons in the area are quite expensive, ranging between $600-$800, which is definitely not pocket change.

If there has to be a relatable morale to this story, I guess it's that you occasionally get something in the mail that you don't want to deal with, whether it's a bill or some sort of expiry notice. Even so, I've made a commitment to blog about each piece of mail with my name on it that arrives in my mailbox, and I hope to continue to stick to that - even if it does get a little boring XD

Until next time, and hopefully the next interesting piece of snail mail, I'll keep you posted.

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