Thursday, July 05, 2012


In Colorado it comes around every 5 years.  Or, according to the signs haphazardly posted around the Driver’s License office (could you call it an office?) more often if you want to get your driving privileges back by paying your tickets and child support.  

The need to renew my license slipped my mind.  I have my reasons.  I only discovered I’d been driving on an expired license for over a month when I left it behind at the rec center and the girl behind the counter was trying to find me based on my listed address of seven moves ago.  When I came back for it I realized a couple things.  1. We move way too much. 2. My name is no longer unique. (So much for that one-in-a-million speech in 8th grade) 3. My license had expired.  Really expired

I walk in, Jack in tow, and present myself at the first counter.  A humorless lady asks what I want.  “A renewal.”  I hand her my current license.  She asks boy or girl.  Boy, I tell her.  “How old?” 11weeks. “Here’s a number, you need a statement with your address and we only take cash or check.”  My bank is at the other corner of the shopping center so I drag Jack a block down in 100 degree windy heat (feels like a convection oven) and return with cash and proof of address.  Next line.  It’s assumed that you’re going to spend a considerable part of your day in line at the DMV when you’re unfortunate enough to have to go there but I’m still never quite prepared for the experience.  The place is packed.  Is there a DMV that isn’t?  I’m all the way in a different line and the lady back at first counter asks again how old my kid is.  And she does it in such a way that makes me look around to see if there are any other kids because A: she already asked, and B: was just awkwardly quiet enough that I honestly didn’t know she was talking to me, until I realized she was talking to me.

I make it up to counter #2 to talk with socially awkward DMV worker #2.  He asks me a series of questions so quietly that I wonder if I’m losing my hearing.  I see his lips moving but its hard to know if I’m answering questions correctly and then I start to panic because what if, horrors, I answer incorrectly and lose my license forever?  Or will be forced to pay child support to some other child I don’t know I had?  Apparently I answer stunningly because after only a couple minutes he smiles and motions for me to wait for counter #3 where I will get my temporary papers and photo taken.  I ask him if I can just keep my photo of 5 years ago.  He smiles and says no.  Here’s the thing with Colorado: Your license is good for 5 years, like I mentioned before, and I feel a lot of pressure to have a decent photo.  I already look be-draggled.  Sure its only one in the afternoon but I’m not one to put a whole lot of stock in my morning beauty regimen so by noon my hair was in its typical matted frazzed (yes, I just made that word up) bun-ponytail and after spending even a moment out in the heat my face had procured a greasy glaze.  I gave myself a pep-talk.  “You are not vain, you don’t care, the glimpse you got of yourself in the shop window was decent enough and for heaven sakes you have a 14lb 11 week old you’ve just toted around for the past hour like an Olympic medal depended on it.  You’ve got your smile. Just give a good smile and maybe it will distract from the fact that it looks like a band of chimps attacked your hair.”

I wait in line for counter #3.  It’s the changing of the guards and another humorless lady steps up to the desk.  My name is called.  I step up.  She mumbles for me to verify everything on the slip of paper.  I repeat what she says to make sure I heard her right.  She glances at me like I’m an idiot.  She asks me to sign the bottom of the paper but to stay inside the box.  I passed the vision test without my glasses, kept Jack happy and quiet the entire time and offered to donate my kidneys.  I got this.  I madly sign what I think is my best signature yet.  This is NOT one of those times when you want to step outside of the box.  A piece of a letter slips outside the box.  She scowls.  “Ugh, I have to get another one.” Oops.  This time I tone it back.  Not my best but at least I stayed in the box.  She asks me to step up to the hanging blue background and look at the blue dot.  OK. Now is my time to shine.  I may look ridiculous but I can pull it together with a smile.  I stand there smiling not wanting to miss my opportunity.  She mumbles something else and just as I’m about to say “what?” she flashes the camera.  Crap.  I lost my smile and I’m fairly certain I blinked.  “I think I blinked” I tell her.  She says to wait a second.  “Uhmm, Its fine” She responds.  “Your new license will be sent to you in the mail within the next 30 days.”  “NEXT!”  (And was that a smirk I detected?)  I’m pretty sure she planned that.  Glad I could make her day.  

What I would have been satisfied with.

What I'm pretty sure happened.


Post a Comment

<< Home