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one fine province

More from the frustrated teenaged driver front. With the testers still on strike, ten weeks now, and going strong, Ed has a new plan for getting his licence. He wants to try Manitoba. Yes, that's right. He would rather drive than live in Ontario. We talked about it last night, he and Mir and I. It started as a joke, but got more serious when he found a phone number in Manitoba, and I talked to someone from the provincial insurance agency there. She was very clear. The provincial authority would give Ed credit for the time he has already put in as a learning driver in Ontario. He would need to take the Manitoba written test, and then he could do the driving test within the week.

Ed was ecstatic, overhearing me say this. Let's go, he whispered. Let's go now!

I held up my hand in a whoa! gesture. The situation was getting complex. To take the test, the lady informed me, he would need to have a piece of ID with a Manitoba address on it.

Like what, I asked her.

How about a gas bill addressed to him?

He's 16, I said. He doesn't pay for gas.

How about a cancelled cheque?

He doesn't have a bank account, I said. The only ID he has with an address is his passport. And that was issued in Ontario.

Ed was jumping around the living room. I could open a bank account, he said at the same time as the lady in Manitoba ws saying, He could open a bank account.

Yes, I said. He could open a bank account. And hung up.

I summarized the situation when Ed had stopped bouncing off walls. In order for you to get a drivers' licence, I said, we would have to fly to Winnipeg, borrow the address of Mir's friend Carol, open a chequing account for you, and return home. When the cheques come in a couple of weeks, we would fly back to Winnipeg, take the written test, wait a week and then you could take the driving test. So all we need, I said, is Carol's good will, a hotel for a week or so, and a bunch of plane tickets. So the cost of your driver's licence is ... oh ... 4000.00

His face fell like rain.

(You could stay with Carol, Mir pointed out. That'd save a week of hotel bills.

Hey! said Ed.

She's making a joke, I said. And his face fell again.)

But what's the alternative, Dad?

Or, I said, we could wait for the strike to end ....

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