Before I tell you how it went, I must apologize for the lousy quality of the photo. Given my recent post on how much I dislike crowds, I wanted to show you how many people there were when I arrived (there was an equally crowded waiting area on the other side of the room, by the way). In a moment of what I thought was sheer brilliance, I decided to wait until the very end of the day to go. I assumed, incorrectly, as it turned out, there would be less people there.
The truth is, it’s always full of people. No matter what time you go.
As systems go, theirs isn’t bad, I must admit. I didn’t have to wait long, really. Just about fifteen minutes. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is fairly good, don’t you think?
Oh yes, the photo. Like I said, I wanted to prove I’d been, and let you see what greeted me, when I arrived. All the people, I mean. But as I raised my iPhone up to take the photo, I realized I probably shouldn’t be doing it. Taking the picture. It’s a government office, after all, and we all know how paranoid they are.
What if they’d thought I was a terrorist, there to case the joint, in preparation for an attack at another time. I could have been hauled out of there in handcuffs. So I had to be very quick. And circumspect. Not obvious. Which means I had no time to adjust the lighting, or even focus properly. Anyway, I think you can tell I wasn’t alone.
Okay, now for the process. I’d be sent a card, advising me my license would soon expire. I was also told I needed a new photo. A nightmare I also recently posted about. The final instruction was to remember to bring the card with me. And my current license, of course. And some way to pay the $75 fee. Cash, debit, credit card.
When I arrived I handed the card to a receptionist. She handed me a receipt with a number printed on it. Then I sat down in my choice of waiting areas and did exactly that. I waited until I saw my number flash on one of the many digital screens placed all over the room. When my number ‘came up’, it was accompanied by another number — the desk I should go to.
From then on, it took mere minutes. I was asked for my old license. I was asked for the money. I was told to stand in front of a screen standing about six or eight feet away from the desk. I was told not to smile. Flash. That was it.
You’re not allowed to smile, of course, which is one reason why we all look so awful in these photographs. I also took the advice of one of my followers, who said the key is to think nice thoughts, so your eyes have a nice expression. I thought of every man I’ve ever loved. The cutest babies I’ve ever seen. My adorable cats. Margaritas. Rum punch. Walking on the beach early in the morning, before anyone else’s footsteps ruin its perfection. Watching sunsets. Floating in the water. Sailing. Did I mention margaritas? George Clooney. Sean Connery in his youth. And mine. I tried not to clench my teeth.
Yeah, I thought nice thoughts. Did it work? I don’t know yet. Won’t for a few weeks. All I know is, the woman behind the desk said “Good” after she looked at the photo; and then she said I could leave. Not that we should be jumping to conclusions. It doesn’t mean I look like a Miss America contestant. Not that I would even if Annie Liebovitz took the pictures. Nor does it mean I’ll be posting the finished product on my blog. So don’t hold your breath.
While I was putting my wallet back into my bag, I asked her just how hardened a criminal I looked this time. She giggled. Not quite sure what to make of her reaction. Does she simply have a good sense of humour? Or is she a malicious bitch who knows something I don’t?