The time had come for me to renew my driver's licence, to which I bade it a resounding good riddance.
My first driver's licence featured an old picture that was of my 18-year-old self, circa 2005, when I was a university Freshman who used to weigh 257 pounds. When I became health-conscious and shed the fat, it came to pass that no one ever believed that the girl in my I.D. was me. While this is undeniably flattering, this sometimes proved to be frustrating because I still look young enough to be underage, and whenever I got asked to show some I.D., either to buy lotto tickets or to go into a bar, cops and security guards grilled me on proving that I was indeed the same person and that had not borrowed the card from my hideous Jabba the Hutt sister. So I happily welcomed the prospect of getting rid of my "before" picture with open arms.
Like most driver's licences, mine was set to expire on my birthday, which is both an ingenious and annoying day to have something expire. Seriously, imagine if every important document we dealt with functioned the same way. Credit cards, passports, Air miles, Homeowners' protection insurance, even the yearly Costco membership.
Anyway, not being particularly keen on spending my approaching birthday sitting at the Department of Motor Vehicles, aka, the DMV, I sacrificed one morning to this necessary activity and psychologically prepped myself for the onslaught that was to come.
(Clearly, I hadn't thought my ominous excursion through. Can't you almost hear J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor playing in the background? No? Just me? All right, then.)
When I arrived, I took my place in the line that had at least twenty people in front of me. My temporary adjacent companions were a young mother with her baby, and a man who sported a wifebeater and shorts that were at least three sizes too large to sit at his waistline (as it is dictated of Miami male fashion). By great coincidence, both of these adults happened to know each other. Sandwiched between them, I
That is, the baby was well-behaved until her mother went to sit down. As far as baby physics go, the second Mom finds a moment to relax, a high-pitched wailing and screeching fire alarm will be emitted by the chubby-cheeked bundle of joy.
Trying to ignore the child, I approached the DMV clerk. From his deadened eyes and near-automaton style of speech, he made it obvious that the poor souls who are in servitude for this department are members of some underground cult that worship paying state taxes and fees. I presented my passport, social security card and my car's registration so he could grant me passage to sit down.
He perused each document and asked:
Effectively, I needed more documents. And I thought that here in the United States, I had escaped dealing with French-style paperwork. I should count myself lucky that I was not also required to take a blood sample so they could code my DNA into their database for future reference.
After another drive back home, where I dug out a phone bill bearing my address and wondered if I should also take my birth certificate before I decided against it because it states that I was born in New Jersey (please refrain from making any "Jersey Shore" jokes), I stood in line once more. This time, as the line advanced inch-by-inch, I got to
I was deemed worthy of passage and was asked to take a number. I hoped the DMV prisoners would be kind and not complain about having to sit for two hours because they realized that EVERYONE ELSE was in the same boat and complaining about the obvious would have been utterly pointless.
Thankfully, a most wonderful thing happened.
A collective groan emanated from the crowd as the two-hour wait was now further delayed by another ten minutes. During that time, I kept myself entertained by creating scenarios of what would happen should my picture turn out horrible and the clerk refused to let me take a second picture. I had already lived through seven years of having cops doubt that my previous I.D. was a real one; I wasn't going to deal with that again.
Thankfully, my picture came out quite nice and I avoided having the awkward internal conversation that I had conjured in my mind. I then proceeded to pay through the snout for my new issued strip of plastic.
When I got my first licence seven years ago, it cost fewer than twenty dollars. I suspect that when I have to replace the new card another eight years from now (when I'm 33, ack), it will be priced at $100 and that we'll be required to take aviation lessons because we will have obtained electric flying cars in the shape of big-eared elephants.
Maybe when that day comes, DMV will stand for "Ditching Mobility Vehemently." Long live Ditching Mobility Vehemently.
Barb the French Bean
In case any of you were wondering as to how my real licence photo came out, just know that I am not entirely comfortable posting up photos of legal documents on the internet.
However, I will post this gratuitous image of how I imagined the photo for my card would have turned out, all at my expense.
(Yep. This is on the internet now. I think that I was hoping to channel some I Love Lucy "eeeewwww" spirit here.)
Hm. I think it does my hideous Jabba the Hutt sister proud, don't you? Give it up for self-deprecating bloggers as I Ditch My Vanity.