The Day I Had My Picture Taken

I was about 36 years of age when I received the dreaded notice in the mail that it was time for me to make a physical appearance at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to renew my driver license. I’d been able to skate on just sending in the greenbacks (in check form) over the past several years, but that year, they caught me.

Going to the DMV is no picnic in our town, I don’t know what it is like in yours. Regardless of the appointment system they have set up for you, there are still gazillions of people waiting in any number of lines for what seems like forever. To get the appointment in the first place seems to take an act of Congress, and we all know what that is like. My birthday happens to be in the middle of the summer. I’m a July baby. Couldn’t be any happier to be out in the blistering heat of Merced, CA than a hippo in a dry watering hole. Summer in Central California is hot, folks. You can put a milkshake from McDonalds on the sidewalk and the sun will bake it right into the concrete, after it’s spread it thin as peanut butter.

Hot? Oh yes, that’s what July is. So is June. And I imagine that’s when I was down there at the DMV. In June. My birth date is the 12th, so to give the good government people sufficient time to do their due diligence, I would seem to remember going the latter part of June, with my appointment to meet my DMV person to get my picture taken for my driver license.

So I have been standing in one of the dozen or so lines of men and women who don’t want to be there any more than I do, doing what I love to do in cases like this – people watch. There are elderly folks there hoping for one last chance at the eye chart so they can drive their elderly folks-type vehicles for a few more years (oh dear!). Lots and lots of immigrants of all persuasions are in line for identification cards. Even a few young people eager to get that driver permit or first driver license (heaven help us!). What? Oh, my name has been called.

As I approach the end of the very lengthy counter, actually, it reminds me of a racetrack somewhat, half the length of a football field and curved on either end, I happen to notice a young man approaching the very opposite end of the counter from me. He looked to be about 16 years old. I surmised that it was his father with him and the teenager was getting his first license. We both went through the paperwork process at about the same rate and I was asked to go to the opposite end of the racetrack, er counter, to have my picture taken for the license.

I’m now standing behind the teenage boy, waiting my turn for the photo shoot. He seems appropriately nervous for the occasion. He is several inches taller than myself, has sandy brown hair, is rather thin and wiry. His pictures are taken and he makes his way out of the area and the building. I go through the process and am told it would be about four weeks before receiving my new license, that the temporary one I had been given would suffice. Happy day, thank you very much, wonderful weather and all that. I depart.

Several weeks later, my license comes in the mail. As I rip open the envelope and take a look at my mug shot, I couldn’t help but bust out laughing at what I saw. For you see, it wasn’t me smiling back at me from the driver license but that of the petrified looking face of the young man who had taken his photograph right before me! All the data about me was correct. Everything was peachy except for the photo. What kept running through my mind was what must he be thinking as he proudly tore open his DMV envelope only to find my face smiling back at him on his first driver license! What a hoot!

I made another appointment with the specialist at the DMV. As I began to explain to her my plight, I put it to her this way, “I remember getting a little older, putting on a few pounds, getting a different hair do. I just don’t remember the sex change!” I wonder what his story was?

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