These Sighs

The dreaded day arrives.  I wash my face, wipe my ass, clothe myself, and drive to the Lauderdale Lakes office of the Division of Motor Vehicles.  There’s no getting around it.  I need to renew my driver’s license.

“It rained all night the day I left……”

I arrive a bit early.  There are several lines swarmed around hand-scrawled signs which do nothing but confuse me.  One says APPOINTMENTS with an arrow pointing to a dead end.  I stand there for a few minutes trying to figure out where the hell I’m supposed to stand/go/report.   I look so forlorn and/or dangerous that some factotum takes pity and asks me what I need.  I don’t say “tequila,” which is my first thought.

Turns out they didn’t have me on the appointment list.  I am about to freak out, but then we figure out that my appointment was last week.  (“What’s wrong with you?” Guido asks me,  later, when I tell her.)

But the place is damn near empty!  They take me immediately.

I have everything — passport, social security card, expired license, 1099, two utility bills with my name and address.  A very friendly agent processes all this, nodding affirmatively.  But then the fatal moment arrives.  Eye test.

It’s one of those devices you stuff your face into and peer through two apertures.   She asks me to read Line 5 at the bottom of the screen.  At the bottom of the screen there are 4 colored shapes numbered 5-6-7-8.  It’s a red stop sign  (just the shape), a yellow circle, a 6-sided thingy shaped like home plate, and a triangle.  Nothing to read.

She insists Line 5 is a string of letters.  I kept arguing.  There aren’t any letters.  Just the numbers 5-6-7-8 and a series of icons.  She keeps saying Look at the bottom of the screen, and I keep telling her what I’m reading IS at the very bottom of the screen.

So she turns the screen around and fiddle-fucks with it and when I look in again the shapes are gone and the letters are there.  I see them.  But now my left eye — the really bad one — can’t read the letters at all.  There’s a smear of coloration swimming in a grey fog of mucous.  This is how I see the world.  The World According to Squathole.

“If you can’t read the letters we’ll have to send you to an eye doctor,” the agent  tells me.

Wait–why?  Suppose I’m blind in one eye — which I just about am — what’s the difference?  I know several people with that affliction,  and they all drive legally.    At least I’m not dead like half the folks who commute on I-95 daily.

But this is not the time to argue.  This is the time to cheat.  I pull back a bit and get my right eye to focus enough that I can rattle off the letters correctly.  Success!

“I don’t know how you saw those shapes,” she says.  “You must have very good eyesight.”

Ha ha hahahahahahaha!  That’s a first.  My eyesight is even worse than my looks.  And now I have an official photo from DMV to prove it.

Anyway, 30 minutes later I am outta there with a new license.  What a wunnerful world.

Seeya on the safe Florida highways.

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8 Responses to These Sighs

  1. Lois Terms says:

    What roads do you drive on? I want to stay away from them.

  2. Moose and Squirrel says:

    It’s come a long way since they started this system. I had a passport, a college transcript, and a 1099 but they told me that wasn’t enough. I waited 3 hours for nothing — I had to go back. It burned me up so much I waited months, which meant driving around with an expired license.

  3. odtley says:

    i lost my license sometime in the 90s and never renewed it so when i drive i need to be real careful but not over careful because that might attract attention and thats also the reason i dont renew it now if i did i might be admitting ive been driving all this time and that would get me in trouble too so i just take my chances the way it is now

  4. Stan Garde says:

    I took my birth certificate, but they said it was invalid because it wasn’t “an original document.” I told them that the original was on file where I was born, and this is the only copy anybody including me could get. They still said No Go. I told them if a copy was good enough for the President of the United States it should be good enough for the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles.

    I didn’t get my license that day.

  5. soflanewbie says:

    Same thing happened to me. I couldn’t see any letters with my left eye and insisted there was nothing there (I have a small area of distortion on my left retina). The agent insisted that they were there. I was starting to panic. Then she said to try my glasses (which I normally don’t need for distance vision), and lo and behold, I could see the letters. Disaster averted. But now I have to drive with glasses. Oh well.

  6. Helen Keller says:

    I had no trouble at all with the chart, but the rearranged furniture was a nuisance..

  7. ya' gotta' guessit says:

    Oh, man…you are *one* license renewal from going into the Soylent Green line.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wearing glasses to drive is not a sign of failure. I had a friend who was a really bad driver and I hated going anywhere with him. One day I nervously got in the car with him and he put on glasses, complaining about how he hated to wear them. His driving was fine. Turns out, he wasn’t a bad driver. He was almost blind and couldn’t see half the stuff on the road. No wonder he almost got us killed a couple of times.

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