Only three ways out

My driver’s license needed to be renewed.  Around here, one receives a notice to that effect about six weeks before one’s birthday.  Preferring to take care of business promptly, I braved the license office on Wednesday morning and was totally shocked to find NO ONE in line!  Since when does THAT happen?!? When I asked the License Office Lady (LOL) that question, she told me that Wednesdays tend to be slow days for them.  This is a fact I will remember.

I answered the various questions, noted the flashing peripheral lights, agreed to donate my organs, explained the meanings of six traffic signs, and cheerfully paid my $21 ($20 for the license plus $1 for the convenience of paying by credit card).  All that remained was the taking of my picture, and I had prepared myself for this.

I am not inherently photogenic.  I tend to blink.  I can’t figure out how to produce a decent smile.  My eyelids want to droop.  So. . . I had worn a bright red shirt that makes me look sharp.  My makeup was nice, and I was wearing lip gloss.  My hair had just been cut last week, and as a bonus, it happened to be a good hair day.  I had even practiced smiling into the bathroom mirror at home.  I never can decide if teeth in a smile are a plus or a minus for me, and after modeling several poses, I determined that the closed lips and smiling eyes would be the way to go.  After all, I would have to look at this picture – at least occasionally – for the next six years, and I wanted to put my best face forward, so to speak.

So I stood in front of the blue screen, focused as directed on the small blue dot, closed my mouth, opened my eyes, reminded myself not to blink, and hoped for the best.

The light flashed, the lady said we were all done, and I asked if I had blinked.  “No, you didn’t.”  That was great and unexpected news.  I am obviously improving on this whole “being photographed” thing, eh?  I then had to wait a minute or so for my paper license to print, and while I waited, the LOL explained to me that my permanent (plastic) license would be mailed to me in about a week, that the paper one was my actual license until the permanent one arrived, and that if I chose to fold the 8.5″ x 11″ paper one, I should NOT fold it through the picture, because the fold would cause the picture to blur and fade.  Noted.

And she handed me the paper license.

And I could not believe what I saw.

Now, granted, virtually everyone thinks his driver’s license picture is bad, but this photo was clearly of something alien – like maybe out of National Geographic or something!  She did bare some faint resemblance to Yours Truly, but the scowl?  The glare?  The bugged-out eyes?  Was this a driver’s license photo of a lady we all know and love, or a mug shot of a convict?!?  Oh. my. goodness.

I folded it – not through the picture, although that may well have been an improvement – thanked the lady, walked out to the car, and told Andrew I had just had THE WORST imaginable driver’s license picture taken.  I showed it to him, and he, too, was shocked at the ugliness.  Wow.

We drove around town on the rest of our errands, and I kept thinking about that picture.  And Andrew kept telling me I HAD to get it re-done.  That poor woman in the red shirt.  The paper version in black and white was bad enough, but imagine how she would look in living color!  Aarrgghh!  So, as we wound down 160 from F, I called the license office back.

Me:  Hi.  This is Patty Roberts, and I was in a little while ago to renew my driver’s license.  Now, I know everybody says this, but my picture was really, really horrid.  I’m wondering if there’s any way for me to come back in and have it re-taken without paying another $20.

LOL:  No, we can’t do that.

Me:  Well, how about I come back in and pay another $20 and get it re-taken?

LOL:  I’m sorry, but you can’t do that until you renew your license.

Me:  OK.  So, if I decide I just can’t stand this one, I can come in in a few weeks or months and pay the $20 and have it re-done?

LOL:  No.  We can’t issue you another license until it’s time to renew it.

Me:  Till it’s time to renew it!  But that will be in six YEARS!  Do I have any other options?  Is there any way for me to get a new license sooner than that?

LOL:  We can only issue you a new license before the renewal time if you lose or gain more than 100 pounds or have a sex-change operation.

Me:  Oh!!!

And what could I say to that?!?  I certainly don’t intend to gain 100+ pounds any time soon, and if I lost 100, even I would be way too thin to be healthy.  That third option is NEVER going to happen, so it appears that I will be carrying around in my wallet the red-shirted monster woman with the triple chin for “six more years.”

My decision:  I will choose to look at her and laugh (out loud)!

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