I sat there and smugly listened. I was not smug because I am known for keeping on top of things. I simply thought, That isn't the case with me. My license is f-i-i-i-ne.
Several times in the last five or six months I've been to the bank. (Are you thinking, 'What is going on? Has she lost her train of thought?' Just bear with me for a moment, and you'll find there's a connection, I promise.) Each time, I put my driver's license into the pnuematic (spelling) tube along with the withdrawal slip. Each time the transaction happened without a hitch. Everything was cool...
However, last week, a couple of days before the holidays I again went to the bank. I had just been there a week earlier, but this time was different.
"Do you have a valid driver's license?"
What? My head swiveled towards the screen, and I was told the license I gave them expired in June of 2010. More than 6 months ago...
They were nice enough to give me the money anyway, but then, of course, I had to come home and plot out the rest of my day. My afternoon was not going to be spent making cookies and wrapping presents. Suddenly, my day was going to be spent on "official," government business. Dangerous business (at least dangerous for the license bureau people, if I flunked the test).
When I found the closest office, I found I first had to take the vision test. That should have been the easy part, right? Unfortunately, I didn't sail through it like a breeze. An officer built like a redwood told me to put my head into the machine so I could read a specific line. Easy-breezy. But then he gave me another line to read. I squinted and strained and rattled off a few letters and he replied, "They're all numbers." Uh oh.
"Do you wear glasses?"
I then started talking a mile a minute. "Well, yes, I-wear-contact-lenses-but-only-in-the-right-eye-because-I-got-to-the-age-where-I-had-to-wear-bifocals-but-my-insurance-company-refused-to-pay-for-no-line-bifocals-and-I-think-I'm-too-young-to-wear-those-old-lady-glasses-so-my-eye-doctor-suggested-this-and-it-works-because-the-right-eye-is-for-distance-and-the-left-eye-is-for-closeup-work."
I think Officer Redwood stopped listening as soon as I said, "Well, yes," He walked to another testing machine, and told me to "stick" my head into that one. (Why did I feel like a cow getting prepared to get milked?)
Thankfully, I cleared the first hurdle. The next one? The written test. Da da da duuum.
Please remember: I last took the written version of the driving test 35 years ago. Back then, stone tablets and chisels were used. Now the test is taken on the computer.
I got a 92% on it and--not meaining to brag--but the two questions I missed I erred on the side of caution. I mean, do you know how far something has to extend out your car's rear end before it must get flagged? (FYI---five feet. I think plenty of damage could be created with something extending out 3 feet...Perhaps the state of Missouri has it wrong?)
Then I was told to have a seat, and wait to be called for the driving portion of the test. I got permission from Officer Redwood to move my car to a closer spot (so I could clear off the front seat), and returned. Fortunately, my wait was not too long, so the sweat did not have time to creep all the way from my armpits to my waist. Almost. But not quite.
|photo by Paul McRae (Delta Niners)|
My final score was an 80%, and I blame my low score on the car being too quiet. I am sure I made some small mistakes because I never drive without the radio blaring. If I can't listen to Earth, Wind and Fire or Janis Joplin or Gnarls Barkley, the car doesn't move forward.
One thing I did ace was the parallel parking. Thirty-five years ago, I did not even attempt to parallel park. I had called ahead of time, found out it was only worth 7 points, and figured I wouldn't need that 7 points. Now, old lady that I am, I'm a pro; in fact, it was the easiest part of the test.
So now I am legal again. I have a valid license. And perhaps my sad, scary tale will cause a few of you to sniffle a little, or shudder a bit, or...check your own license to see when it expires!