Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Teen Years are Today's Norm?????

I read this story on MSN today.

To establish some background on why I'd have an opinion on this, I got a driver's license at 20. This was after failing the road test twice at 16, being told I'd have to get glasses for driving b/c of my cruddy vision (damn genetics) & the rise of graduated licensing laws in NC.

When I turned 17, I was required to get a Level 1 graduated license (w/more restrictions than I had on the Learner's Permit I had at 15). Under the law, they'd have to give me a regular license when I turned 18. Everyone I knew, including my LITTLE sister, got a driver's license before this law change.

After all this indignity, I decided that since I was going to college in Atlanta, I wouldn't need a driver's license & could just use public transit.

I'm not a fan of the DMV today but I wanted the one closest to my house to be blown up, I hated it that much. Oh, I should also mention that the first time I took the road test at that DMV I was driving a car I had driven all of once & the instructor told me to clean the windshield. I also wasn't told I'd be required to back up in a straight line so this was just another curve ball thrown at me.

Needless to say, my experience with driving was not fun. My sister got a brand new car (our parents paid) & had to drive me around when I was a senior. Know how humiliating that is, especially when you're supposed to be the more mature, intelligent kid? Granted, she got into a few accidents but it was irritating for me to be in after school activities & have to wait around 2 hours for my mom to get off work so I'd have a ride home b/c most people didn't care if or how I got home. My school was over 2 miles from home in an area without sidewalks + my mom would not let us walk that by ourselves. Taking the bus to go to AP classes off campus was also a pain in the butt since I had to wait around at least an hour before my first class started & had to return to sit around at school until 2:20 when I returned on that bus, despite my class ending at 1:50.

In college, I made my own choice to get a license but I did it after getting my own car & getting sick of taking wheeled suitcases to go to the grocery store + walking to the bank to deposit my work study paycheck. Things were fine after that.

So I have to wonder WHY, in God's name would some teenager not living in NYC or someplace with great public transit NOT want to get a license? The "too busy" excuse is weak since I knew people who were in AP classes, extracurriculars, held part-time jobs & "prepared for college" who STILL had licenses (and many times, cars).

Maybe cost would be a factor but it's never been cheap. I never even got to go on dates w/my high school boyfriend since neither of us drove & parents driving you on a date is intrusive. His parents driving us to the prom SUCKED, especially b/c we didn't get to stay out all night.

Do these people have stay at home parents??? My parents worked until late so my being in any after school activity was a pain unless a bus could get me home or I got a ride--that almost never happened. My mom was also alone later on in my high school years so I was stuck.

Do these parents just take their kids ANYWHERE?? Mine wouldn't have done that. There were limits & punishment in my home.

To put some perspective here, I'm not some old fart. I graduated high school in 1999 so there was some Internet & such at the time, though not at the levels you see today. If anything, social networking would have inspired me to get a car quicker so I could see friends living outside my hometown.

So any insights on this? I'm really stumped unless some college kids haven't had to get their own groceries yet or had the transit system shut down or close routes on them.

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