I've been carrying around a horrid driver license photo for six years now. I have to pull it out every time I write a check, which is often, because I am one of the three people left on earth who still writes checks. (There is always a sigh from the person in line behind me, but that is neither here nor there.)
Strangely enough, I opted to renew my license online yesterday - so I can carry the same photo around for another six years. Call me sentimental.
I wrote about the driver license fiasco back in 2008, and I shall recount it here for our merriment.
Dec. 2008My husband dropped me off at a car rental office to pick up a car for the next couple of days. Normally, he would wait to make sure I got it before driving off, but he had several errands to run and I assured him that I had it under control. I stepped to the counter and went through the usual procedure."OK, just need to see your license and credit card," the man at the counter said. I whipped them out and checked my watch. I was to pick my son up at school in 15 minutes and had just enough time to get there, drop him off at home, run another errand and then leave for a hockey game. This was going well."Uh, ma'am, your license has expired and is no longer valid," Mr. Car Rental Guy said, and pushed it back toward me. "I can't rent the car to you without a valid license."
Oh, you gotta be kidding me. But no, it had expired last month and apparently I've been driving illegally for several weeks.By this time, Tom was long gone, and there was no way to call him to have him return with HIS license, because he lost his phone a week ago."There's a Department of Motor Vehicles office in the next block," the guy said helpfully. "You could go renew it and come back." I immediately envisioned the DMV office, a dimly lit room with orange plastic chairs and a hundred depressed people waiting for their number to be called. I've been there before and remember it well.I was stuck. I could see no other choice but to do as he suggested. So I walked THROUGH THE RAIN to the DMV, hoping it wouldn't take forever.Have I ever mentioned what drizzle does to my hair? Well, it gets frizzy AND flat at the same time. Did I also mention that I was wearing a stained hoodie sweatshirt? Under a blazer? I'm quite sure I was not wearing lipstick. And I knew, as I hurried along through the wind and rain, that I would be stepping behind a line and looking into a camera, operated by someone who couldn't care less about capturing the essence of who I am.
I got up to the DMV counter with no wait time. I guessed on only a few of the numbers in the vision screening and fudged just a teeny tiny bit on my weight. (I'm certain that those few pounds will be gone right after I start my exercise program, so really, I was just speaking in faith.) But before I could do a happy dance at my speedy progress, things came to a halt when the lady refused to take my debit card. "Checks or cash only, Hon," she drawled. Of course, Tom had my checkbook. Then, seeing my cold, stonefaced expression in response to this news, added, "You could go around the corner to the grocery store and buy yerself a soda, get cash back and come on back here." Like the Car Rental Guy, she was also quite helpful. I turned wordlessly for the door.I trudged to the store through the drizzle as she suggested, and returned with the appropriate cash. I was madly texting my son to tell him to take the bus. And despite her machine BREAKING DOWN in the middle of the whole thing, I managed to step behind the line and smile like a drowned rat for the photo I'll be carrying around for the next six years.I can hardly wait to see my moment of real life captured on my license when it comes in the mail.