When I woke up, the signs were all there: low humidity, light wind, no rain, and it wasn’t Wednesday. The moon must be in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars because today was the day to go to the DMV.
Don’t hate me, but I was the only one there. In fact, it was after 11, they’d been open since 8:30, and I was the first customer of the day. I was in and out in seven minutes. It would have been four, but I got to chatting with the lady about politics. More on that in a minute.
My license expires this August, but I begged the DMV gods to issue me a new license in 2006 after I’d lost 140 pounds. I was having a hard time buying liquor, and even the cashier at WalMart was beginning to doubt I was who I said I was when I’d try to cash a check. God knows if I’d tried to fly anywhere with my 300-pound photo I’d probably not make it past the first security check point.
Unfortunately for me, though, karma wasn’t on my side and I didn’t plan that trip to the DMV real well. First of all it was a Wednesday – the only day 16-year-olds and people wanting their license back after serving time for DUI can take their road test. Second, I was wearing a flannel shirt. Third, my hair was in bad need of a color update. It wasn’t one of my better moments. Sadly, though, the photo that was supposed to reflect my metamorphosis from morbidly obese to normal looked enough like me that security personnel at O’Hare, LAX, and LaGuardia had no problem letting me through when I traveled recently. I’m such a boofer. Oh well. At least I stopped getting hassled when I tried to buy the Two Buck Chuck.
Back to today. I was ready for the photo this time. Dressed in a teal colored shirt and coiffed just the way I wanted, I started the computerized process of getting a new license. Did I want to be an organ donor? Yes. Did I understand I was signing up to be an organ donor? Yes. Are you sure? Yes.
Do you want to change your political party affiliation at this time?
“Really?” I asked the lady. “I can do that?”
Remember how I changed my party affiliation from Independent to Democrat back in April so I could vote in the primary? I’ve been meaning to get up to the courthouse to change it back, but I keep forgetting now that Barack and Hillary don’t call me anymore. How handy is it that I got to change it back at the DMV today?
“Yes,” she said. “What do you want to be?”
When I told the lady I wanted to be Independent, she asked, “Independent, Independent Democrat, Independent Republican, Independent American, or Independence party?”
“I guess just Independent,” I said. “I didn’t realize there were so many.”
“Oh honey, let me read you a few,” she laughed. “There’s the Good Neighbor, Halloween, Christmas, Birthday, Internet, Idealistic, Fusion, Guilty, Global Justice, Feline, Freedom…”
“Wait,” I stopped her. “Feline? Cats have a political party?”
“Ma’am, you’d be amazed what people believe in.”
I sat down and smiled at the little white dot. In three seconds, my photo was on the screen.
“Do you like it?” she asked.
“Like it? Can I get that in an 8x10 for my parents?” I asked.
It was by far the best DMV photo I’ve ever taken. My eyes were open, I had no gunk in my teeth, I remembered to take out my gum first, I had no zits, and none of my gray showed through. I must have done something really good in a past life.
I tucked my new license in my wallet on top of the old old one, the one of me at 300 pounds. It keeps me accountable. Whenever I’m tempted by Krispy Kreme’s or some such food disaster, I just look at that driver’s license and step away.
Maybe I should keep the one from 2006, too. Next time I’m tempted to wear flannel or wait 12 weeks to have my hair colored, I’ll take it out and change my clothes or call Ashley for an appointment. A girl can’t have too many reminders.