Growing Old at the DMV

I’ve always said that growing old is a major hurdle in anyone’s life.

We are ALL getting older everyday, every minute, every second, but we don’t have to be OLD to be getting older!

The majority of us, myself included, go on living life as usual; striving, hanging in there, achieving  incredible success (or not), and facing huge challenges. Our lives are individually unique, but one thing that is certain and the same in everyone’s lives is aging.

I have taken my youthful energy for granted for a long time. I would endanger my health to meet any dare. I would risk my life to lose a couple of pounds simply to meet a foolish goal. I thought I would be young for a long time and that old age would never catch up to me, because I can outrun anything.

Then one day in August of 2017, I received a letter notifying me to report to the DMV to renew my driver’s license. I had not been to the DMV for quite a long time. My license always renews automatically.  I made an appointment online and showed up for my time slot. We all know the DMV picture is very unforgiving, but I was prepared for my new portrait with my hair and makeup done a little better than normal, to look a little prettier, and sporting a collared sweater to look a little smarter. It was finally my turn to go to the counter. The DMV officer was nice, but not overly friendly, like most DMV workers. Yes, that was sarcasm. I sometimes think the DMV conduct code is to be grim, uptight, and unfriendly. I submitted my form, answered a few questions, and paid the $32 fee.  And by the way, the DMV only takes check or cash, no credit card. Maybe they want to cheat the IRS or something…just kidding.

Just when I thought we were done, the officer asked me to read the letters on the whiteboard hanging from the ceiling a few feet from me. Ah, no problem, I know the alphabet, thank God. I zip through the first line with ease and the second line with no problem. Then he asked me to cover my left eye and repeat, which I did brilliantly. Next, he asked me to cover my right eye. I could not see anything but a blurred line of black letters on a whiteboard. I told him about my weak left eye. He asked if I wore glasses, and I said no and that I had lasik surgery more than a decade ago. He then took me to another counter and had me look into a little binocular to read for him. Again, I did well with both eyes open, did well again with my left eye covered, and did lousy again with my right eye covered.

He walked back to his space, handed me two pieces of paper: one for an eye doctor to fill out and the other one, a temporary driver’s license to accompany my soon expired current license. What? I will have a temporary license after three decades of driving??? I couldn’t take this lying down. It was time to fight for my driving privileges.

I looked at the officer and said, “Sir, I would like to tell you my secret. When I drive, I always, always open both eyes. I have never once driven my car with my right eye closed, never. They are either both open or both closed, never ONE closed when I drive. So, now you know my driving habit, what is the problem with having a weak left eye?”

He looked at me and firmly said, “You will have to come back with your paper from the doctor.”

I continued to fight saying, “Also, you know, everywhere I drive, I see other cars, trucks, motorcycles, buildings, houses, pedestrians, bushes, road signs…they are ALL bigger than the letters on your board, which I can see as clearly as you can see me. So, what is the problem with a weak left eye?

He looked at me again and said, “Ma’am, you will have to come back with the note from your doctor, and if you don’t leave now, I will call security.”

Whoa, I did not know that I looked threatening or think that my voice was scary. “Okay, okay, I am leaving.” I didn’t have time to deal with security or to be held in contempt of any kind.

I took my papers and left.

At that very moment, I felt the old age, right then and there. I pinpointed the exact time that my life as an old person started. It was 10:30 AM, August 29, 2017 in the Capitola, California DMV parking lot. I wanted to cry, but somehow I burst into a silly laugh. I am such a hillbilly fool.

Oh wait, I forgot, I am such an OLD hillbilly fool.