Well, I turn 65 in three days, so this beautiful Thursday morning I bit the bullet and drove over to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my driver’s license.
Chet Day at 55 before visiting DMV to renew driver’s license.
Before doing so, however, I spent almost forty minutes trying to track down every conceivable piece of documentation to prove that I was indeed who I’ve been since popping out of my mother 64 years and 362 days ago.
The documentation I took with me…
- current driver’s license renewed five years ago by our local DMV
- original Social Security card
- official Medicare card recently received (that’s another story I’ll get to soon)
- original birth certificate
- original marriage license
- official blood test results required to marry first (and, to date, last) wife back in 1972
- and… official document from local Social Security office printed on dot matrix printer back in 1997 when the local bank said I had to prove I was indeed who I’ve been since popping out of my mother in 1948 before they’d let me open a checking account (also another story I’ll rant about one of these days).
Now, you’re probably thinking I’m a nut case for taking all this stuff with me to the DMV just to renew a driver’s license.
I’m not a nut case.
In fact, I’m probably one of the sanest 64 year old eccentrics still walking on the planet.
No, I’m not a nut case.
I am a realist who has been burned so many times by bureaucracy that I never go to a government office without having as many documents as possible.
Chet Day at 64 years, 362 days, after visiting DMV.
You see, the one time in my life when I didn’t go a DMV to renew a driver’s license without the above envelope of documents, I had to drive home, dig out all the paper proving I was me, drive back to the DMV, wait in line for another hour and a half, and then present a birth certificate that looked even then like it had been washed in the Ganges River by thousands of supplicants after being stomped on by wine makers who followed the old ways of reducing grapes to liquid with their feet.
Anyway, I’ll spare you the details of that odious encounter, the one where I learned to carry my documents with me since we now live in a society where before too much longer I’m confident we’ll be required to respond to “Your papers?” with identity cards… or maybe the authorities will just scan our required beneath the skin computer chips containing everything about us from the number of moles on our left arm to the size of our credit card debt.
Now, here’s the wild thing about all this…
Since I had my documentation with me, do you think I was asked to prove anything?
Of course not.
The polite lady merely asked me to respond to the following questions…
- You are an organ donor?
- Your address is still the same?
- Your phone number is still the same?
- Have you had a drug or alcohol problem since your last renewal?
- Are you a registered voter?
I don’t know what No. 5 has to do with getting a driver’s license, but then I also don’t know why we have to renew a driver’s license every few years, either.
Actually, I do know why we have to renew every few years…
… to keep the state coffers from going too far into debt and to pay the DMV workers who in my experience range from kind, polite, and helpful individuals to mean-spirited pricks who get off on intimidating the people whose taxes and fees keep their pay checks coming in.
Anyway, to make a long story short, after flubbing two road sign identifications and passing the eye exam and forking over $32.00 my license was renewed for eight more years.
Which means I won’t have to go through this whole DMV experience again until a couple of days shy of my 73 birthday.
Which means, depending on how things go in terms of health and getting hit by drunk drivers and falling off a roof while cleaning out rain gutters, I may or may NOT ever have to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles again.
I guess there are some advantages to aging, eh?
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