Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Fine Art of Aging Gracefully and Attracting Psychos

Today I made that trip we all dread every eight years. I renewed my driver's license and had my photo taken. I remember this day eight years ago. I had a two-month-old baby boy and my daughter was two. Don't ask me how, but on that day eight years ago, I took the hottest photo I've ever taken in my entire life. For eight years I've enjoyed having that photo on my driver's license. I once showed it to a guy for ID when I got some take-out from a Chinese restaurant in the Minneapolis skyway for lunch. The young guy looked at the photo then looked at me, then looked at the photo and back at me. Finally, he said, "This isn't you." I assured him that it was me. He looked at the photo again and said, "Wow, this is a really hot picture of you." By that time, I was getting rather annoyed at him, and I asked him if he would like to take the photo in the back room of the restaurant for say, five or ten minutes. He had no clue what I was alluding to. I have a very vicious sense of humor when I'm angry.

So, today I took about an hour doing my hair and makeup, getting everything "just so" and hoping in vain that lighting would strike twice and I'd manage to take another great photo. I drove out to the DMV and noticed by the signage that it now shared space with the Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Offices. People were herded like cattle inside. I couldn't tell where I should be for a license renewal, so I went to a counter and took my documents out of my purse and looked around for some clue as to where I should be. Finally, I went to the end of a long line of people and tried to figure out what was going on.

I had been in line less than a minute when the guy in front of me turned around and said, "You look lost." He was exceptionally good looking. I smiled and said, "Well, that's the look I was going for." He smiled back and we moved forward in line. He turned around again. I looked down at the paperwork in my hand. We moved forward in line. He turned around. I looked up and noticed him staring at my chest. He caught me looking right at him, grinned and turned forward again. This guy was starting to give me a very creepy feeling. Uggghhhh . . . all the driver's license facilities in the state of Wisconsin, and I get this one at this particular time with this guy.

Then he was at the head of the line and went to the counter. He was explaining something about needing to get a Wisconsin driver's license, but he had no ID. They were doing a search for his social security number, and they had him waiting at the counter. I went to the counter next and explained why I was there. The woman congratulated me on being the first person all day to have all their paperwork completed correctly. I smiled and mentioned that I have to get on my kids all the time to have their stuff in order, and how I'm a stickler for being prepared. She told me to stand for the photo. There was no mirror. There was no time to take off my winter coat. She must've seen me tense up because she kept saying, "I'm going to take the photo on the count of three." I smiled. Click. She told me to wait until my number was called. I asked her what number - and she motioned to the piece of paper in my hand that she had given to me a minute earlier. I was having a senior moment.

I sat down in a row of chairs against the wall across from an elderly couple. I was looking around taking in all that was going on in that DMV office - driver's ed written tests, parents there with their 16-year-olds for their "behind the wheel" test, people with paperwork and people looking as lost as I had been when I walked in. As I was observing everything going on, I hear this voice say, "How many?" I turned to my right, and in the chair right next to me was the creepy guy from the line. "Excuse me? How many what?" I said. "How many kids do you have?" I just stared at him. "I heard you at the counter talking about your kids." Just at that time, the elderly lady across from me said, "Excuse me, dear, do you have a mirror?" I dug my compact mirror out of my purse and gave it to her. And then they called the creepy guy up to the counter. The lady handed my mirror back and asked, "Do you know him?" I whispered, "No" and she pressed her lips together in a straight line and gave me a concerned look. It wasn't my imagination, the guy was officially creepy.

I was called to the counter next to take the vision test (I was admonished for having my hair in my face - flashback to grade school). The woman looked at me and asked, "Is everything in the description accurate . . . enough?" I imagine she was looking at me and the weight I refused to change to accurate reflect what I currently weigh. I was told to take a seat again. And I got to keep the old driver's license with the hot photo on it. Sweet.

As I sat down, I saw two men come in and start to talk to the creepy guy at the counter. Something was wrong with his documentation or lack thereof. Another minute of waiting, and they called me back to get the license and proof it for any mistakes. I took out my pink leopard print reading glasses and made sure everything was accurate.

And that was when I saw it. The photo. Somehow, it was an older woman that stared back at me from the photo. Her hair and makeup looked good, but you could see crow's feet around her eyes. Her face is a little heavier, but she has a familiar smile. I stared at the photo for a minute. No one will be telling me that this is a hot photo. I sighed. I've taken worse. Overall I'm pleased with it.

I put the license in my wallet and my reading glasses in my purse and walked out to my van. There is a Michael Buble CD in the stereo that used to play mainly Van Halen. I sighed again and drove off. I hope I don't have to go back there for another eight years. At that time, I'll have an 18-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. I wonder what the photo will look like then.

Here's a clip about driver's license photos from Ellen Degeneres's old sitcom. It is hilarious. I once took a Sam's Club photo that was so bad, when I showed it to a cashier, she looked at me then got a confused look on her face and said, "You don't have a gap in your teeth, but it looks like you do in this photo!" So, I can relate to Ellen in this clip. Enjoy.


  1. Wow! I liked reading this. The other day I put on my 20 year old Dr Martens over black tights and put on a mini skirt I hadn't worn in years then looked in the mirror feeling like "I still got it". Well, what I had at 25 was gone. I felt sexy tough and hip but I looked hilarious. Went to show my husband my "woman legs" and he said I looked cute. Because he is a good husband. But I went back and thought, Grandma was right. She laughed at me at Thanksgiving and said I can't believe you have my legs! She thought that was so cute and felt happy to have lived long enough to see me turning into the 40 year old her. There they were, Grandma's legs crammed in old Dr Martens!!! UGH! But I bought myself some cute Clarkes oxfords and have had compliments all week! BTW you and your sister share a vicious sense of humor:>

  2. You are a sweetie, Tera! (And I'm glad I'm not the only 30-40-something that tries to get her sexyback from time to time.) There is a line from the movie "It's Complicated" where Steve Martin's character says to Meryl Streep's character, "Your age is one of the things I like best about you." Finally, a movie where a man recognizes that women only get better with age and experience.

  3. Oh, Jedimommy, we may get better with age, but you'd never know it from our driver's license photos! I liked my 8 years-ago photo too, but not the current one -- a really old woman is staring back at me and it certainly doesn't seem right that she has a motorcycle endorsement on her driver's license. Brings a quote to mind, "the thing about the younger generation that bothers me the most is that I'm no longer one of them."

    BTY, O'Heller used to get such a kick out of asking if the "information on the license is still correct?" and taking photos at DMV. He called it one of the "perks" of the job! He, too, had a wicked sense of humor as you may recall.

    Mother Heller

  4. It's a Human Right leave previously entered data (height, weight) unaltered when renewing state-issued documents. If they want the truth, they can buy a scale.

    As for the picture...well the cameras are all installed to be as unflattering as possible; what can you do?

    As for the creeps - I thought they were state employees provided for entertainment purposes. Who knew?