When I lived in Oakland I sometimes went to the Walnut Creek DMV to renew my driver's license though I felt guilty about it; the lines were shorter, the clerks more respectful, and the floors cleaner. So it was with some trepidation I signed in for my appointment at 2:40 pm in Santa Rosa yesterday. I noticed the lines extended way out to the hot parking lot and the population was probably 80 per cent latino. Most everyone looked tense. I felt immediate compassion. Approaching 84 in three weeks I was tense as well. Did anyone notice? My lips were sealed softly but firmly, for since my big dental surgery Tuesday I am missing my four front teeth. (Hopefully by next Tuesday I will be able to wear my "flipper" which is a temporary partial that will do me until December when my implants will take over.) After signing in they called me within three minutes. I had just started reading the DMV handbook, although I had studied the test questions provided on line. At the first counter they took a thumb print, instructing me the machine was slow and to hold it down hard for a very long time, changed my address (hmm, I thought AAA had handled this two years ago) took my $33, and instructed me to follow the yellow line to the next counter. The clerk could not have been more articulate or courteous. When I couldn't read the letters on the third line on the eye chart which was posted high in the air, the clerk allowed me to look into a lighted box sitting on the counter. I could read that fine and pronounced the letters quickly and confidently, aware she could not see my knees shaking. I noticed a beautiful patriotic display in the distance and was informed the office manager did it. It might have gone in a fancy bank or winery. The display made the very worn and soiled carpets look even worse.
In the second line I only waited one or two minutes before I was standing in front of the camera and instructed to remove my glasses. "Oh, no," I winced to myself. "Now my slightly black and watery right eye from the dental extraction will glare at me for the next five years." Nevertheless I complied, trying to hold my sealed lips just right. Then she handed me the test and I proceeded to the counter to answer the questions. Only one perplexed me. I guess I have been driving so many years I know everything by heart. People around me looked in various states of anxiety, but all nervous."Anyway, "
I thought, "I am allowed to miss three questions." I advised myself not to analyze them or read things into the questions."
Nine minutes later I was rewarded with a perfect score. I told the clerk I had puzzled over question number seven and she agreed with me that it was worded strangely. The only other senior citizen I could see among the 300 or so people there was much younger that me. She was wringing her hands since she missed five on the exam.
Above, Thursday night's sunset from my front yard, which does not compare with Cathy Lane but is kinda nice none the less.