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.)
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.