Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cute Shoes and the DMV

This morning was supposed to be a good one.

Note the phrase "supposed to be."

After traveling to visit J last weekend, it was brought to my attention that my drivers license had expired. DOH! Luckily, after being prodded, poked, searched, blown (yes, as in, put me in a little room and blew air at me to analyze my particles) and herded through security, I was allowed on the plane. Apparently, I am, oddly enough, not a terrorist. Who knew?

But I digress. So this morning I had my plan. I was getting up early, getting pretty and going to the DVM to take the hottest damn license picture that the good State of Indiana had ever seen. I showered. Did a hot oil treatment on my hair. I lotioned knowing, as every woman knows, that somehow my good scent would influence my beauty. I blew my hair dry, using the bane of my existence (a.k.a. the round metal brush I am always clumsy with) to make my hair full and beautiful. Pink turtle neck sweater with just the right bra and black slacks, super cute funky boots (and yes, I know they can’t see my feet in the picture) completed my look. Make up was perfect, delicate silver earrings. Yes, indeed, this was going to happen. This was my year.
My original drivers license picture was, to say the least, bad. Sixteen and not realizing the importance that this picture would have, I left my glasses on (stupid move), wore a baggy sweatshirt and had done nothing with my long curly hair, except pull it half back, as I tended to wear my hair every day in high school (think Felicity, that was me). I didn’t even get the chance to smile! SNAP! It was done. And I was stuck with a deer in headlights ghetto superstar picture.

How embarrassing.

After I turned 21, I knew what I wanted. I got dressed up, had the right make up, and, although the jewelry I chose did, admittedly, look a little hoochie, at least this time I was wearing some. The picture was fine. For about 6 months. Then I began to lose weight again. 60 pounds later my drivers license is the running joke of all my friends. I also am repeatedly asked for other forms of ID, and there is just something not cool about taking your Social Security card out with you. I don’t think it’s extremely safe either.

So this year I was excited. A picture that actually looks like me, and, hopefully, looks like me on a good day. As I got to the DMV the parking lot was empty. Granted, I had arrive unexpectedly half and hour early. I sat in the parking lot until the doors were opened and we entered. I was helped right away.

"NUMBER 6."

A woman shouted at me, pointed to another lady sitting underneath a huge sign stating, as one could guess, "6". I took a seat. She smiled a kind smile and I breathed a sigh of relief. As we all know, the ladies of the DMV are not known for their friendly nature.

"I need to get my license renewed." I stated, handing her the old one. She looked at it, did a double take, then proceeded to work on her computer. "I’m a little late." I said, making idle chit chat. "If I hadn’t been traveling I would have probably forgotten completely." She looks at me like I am an idiot.

"You need to take a written test." She says. My stomach tightens. I swallowed- hard.

"Um, okay." I mumble, wondering why exactly I have to take this. I start thinking through things in my head I was not prepared for a test. No way. ‘Calm down,’ I told myself. ‘You’ve been driving for how many years now? 10? You can take a sill test they give 16 year olds.’ I breathed in. She must have sensed my apprehension. I think the ladies of the DMV, much like a dog, can smell fear.

"Did you want to come back tomorrow to do this?" She asked. I shook my head, a little too hard.

"No, I can do it now." I smiled, displaying my greatest talent- false confidence. She smiled a knowing smile.

"Well, okay then." We sat in silence then as the test printed.

"I wasn’t really expecting a test." I admitted. She nodded, then shrugged. More of an "I’m sorry" shrug than an "I don’t give a shit" shrug, although I suspect she meant it to mean both.

A freshly sharpened pencil, a desk meant for a teeny bopper, and I was ready to go. I read the first question. My heart was racing, my stomach was tightening and my breathing was shallow. I hate tests. No, that’s not entirely true- I hate tests when I am unprepared. When I have studied the material, I could test all day. I love the feeling of knowing. Knowing the right answer. Marking it on the test and moving ahead.

This was not that kind of test.

"When exiting off the interstate and driving over 50mph, how far ahead should you signal? A) 50 feet. B) 100 feet. C) 200 feet or D) 300 feet."

Shit.

‘How far is 50 feet?’ I wondered... I looked around the room, trying to judge where I would signal to exit. I sighed and moved ahead.

"When driving on an Indiana Rural road, what is the maximum speed limit, if not otherwise posted? A) 35 B) 40 C) 50 D)55"

Double shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

This was how the test went. I was allowed to miss 6 questions out of the first 36 and then 2 out of the last 20. I finished and quickly counted. Ones I knew was clueless on... Damn. 5. Ones I thought I maybe might know... Damn again. 3. The odds were not in my favor. The next section. I was iffy on 3. Again, not good odds.

I took the test to a different woman, the one I caught staring at my boots earlier. I smiled. She smiled. I handed her my test.

"All done. Harder than I thought." I said, trying to make her feel some pity for me. She nodded.

"Usually people study." She said in a tone I couldn’t quite recognize.

"I didn’t know I had to take it." I admitted, still standing there nervously. She began to grade. I tried not to stare. She looked up at me, then out at the chairs. "Oh! Okay, I’ll just sit over here." I said laughing. She nodded, checked out my boots (again) and went back to grading.

I sat, fighting the urge to watch her and count her red marks on the test. I looked down, glancing up occasionally. She watched me watch her. I looked down. ‘They are nice boots’ I thought to myself, trying to get lost in something else. I was lucky to find them at Designer Shoes Warehouse. Cheap they were not, but I’m not a huge fan of Uggs, and these were comparable in price, but much cuter in the looks department. I remembered how I had almost gone back a number of times to get them, but something had held me back (yes, that something was my checkbook). Luckily for me, my birthday rolled around and I received them the day my license expired. They’re black, with tan and entirely fur. Laces go up each side and tie in the front. They are super cute. Very cute. Possibly the cutest boots that I have ever...

"Kellie." She said, looking exasperated. I jumped up and walked over, heart pounded and tears threatening.

"Well..." I said. She smiled from ear to ear. I knew it. I had done it. I had passed!

"You’ll need to take the test again tomorrow." She said dryly. My heart sunk. Had I heard her right? Had she been smiling at my failure? "You did fine on the last section, but in the beginning you missed 7, and you can only miss 6. Sorry."

"Oh come on!" I said, without actually meaning to speak it out loud. She smiled again. I wanted to punch her in her boot ogling face. I sighed. "So tomorrow?" She nodded.

"Just keep coming in until you pass." She said smugly. I wondered how many real tests she had taken in her life. I gathered myself up and started to walk away. I turned, trying to hold onto whatever amount of dignity I had left.

"May I have a study guide?" I asked politely. She shrugged (I hate shruggers) and handed me a copy of the Indiana Driver’s Manual. "Thank you." I said, turning to walk away again.

"Mame?" She called out. My heart skipped a beat. Perhaps she had mis graded! She noticed her error and was calling me back to take my picture, my beautiful picture I had been preparing for. I turned, smiling.

"Yes?" I asked.

"I’m sorry... but where did you get those boots?" She inquired, leaning over to admire them closer.

Lips pursed and annoyed and more than a little embarrassed, I muttered "DSW" before pushing past the line that had formed behind me to find my way out of the dreaded DMV.
posted by Kellie @ 11:17 AM |

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