stay off the back roads, y’all

Got my license today. It was surreal. In California you’d have to wait at least 10 days for it to arrive in the mail. Here, you just turn over your old license, present a birth certificate and Social Security card, take an eye exam, answer a few questions (“Have you fainted since last renewing your license?” “Well, there was that night that I hit my head on the toilet and invented the Flux Capacitor.”), and they hand over your new license before you can finish filling out the voter registration sheet. I was in and out in 10 minutes. I have NEVER been in and out of a DMV so fast in my entire life.

I also got my library card today. I have awesome priorities.

Went straight from DMV to the ‘rents insurance agent, so they could add me to their policy. I’m going to pay for it myself, but so long as I am living with them, it’s just easier that way.

The family is going to play musical cars: Last month Phil bought a Toyota Camry (used, so spare me the brake jokes) for himself; David will get Phil’s Nissan Altima; and I will get David’s Pontiac Sunfire.

I just got back from a driving lesson with Phil. I was a little nervous at first, as it’s been over 2 years since I last drove — and I’ve only driven a handful of times in the past 3 — but driving a car is one of those muscle memory things, like riding a bicycle or having sex. No matter how long it’s been, your body remembers.

The worst part is going to be getting used to the TERRIBLE roads in Louisiana. We have, bar none, the most poorly-maintained roads in the country. Natives like to blame it on the constant rain and swampy ground, but that is horseshit. The climate and terrain don’t radically change at the Texas or Mississippi borders; but you can feel the roads start to get buckled and potholed the second you drive over that invisible line.

I think it’s a combination of good ol’ corruption — the tax money earmarked for road repair instead went to buy a diamond collar for some state assembleyman’s favorite stripper’s lapdog — and the fact that the job traditionally gets awarded to people too stupid to ask “You want fries with that?” Trust me, one of my cousins — by marriage only, thank dog I share no DNA with him — works for the parish repairing roads, and he is a dumber, drunker, and altogether less attractive version of Jason Stackhouse. This is the guy who wandered into the wrong viewing room and KISSED THE WRONG DEAD BODY at my grandfather’s funeral. Mom sometimes sees him throwing rocks at stop signs on his break. I don’t expect him to use it reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s letters to Simone de Beauvoir or anything, but is that really the most constructive way he can think of to spend his spare time?

I expect I will be driving like a little old lady for a while, hovering just under the speed limit and braking half a mile before the stoplight or sign. And using turn signals, which in this part of the state makes you stand out: most Cajun drivers think the turn signal stalk is just something to hang Mardi Gras beads on.


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