After an exhausting experience at the DMV, I am finally home. The last time I entered the doors of the DMV, my daughter, who is now fourteen, was in a stroller. My license actually expired a year ago, but I really had to work my way through my thought process to decide when I wanted to renew it. I associate a driver’s license photo with pressure. This is the photo that could potentially appear on the news within the next ten years! My hair has really been the hold- up on my decision to renew or wait: Did I want my dark hair captured for all to see for the next ten years or should I wait for highlights? Moving forward with the highlights was a big moment, and this was the push I needed to make my way down to the DMV.
While thinking about my new license, I’ve been primarily focused on the picture I would carry with me for the next ten years. All this thinking has inspired a great suggestion I would like to make to the DMV. For a small fee, a person getting a license should get the option to use a Snapchat filter for his or her photo. I understand that one can’t cover his or her face completely, but there are some fabulous options that not only show your whole face BUT also take ten years off. My personal favorites are the Miss America crown and the hearts above the head filter. Would I pay extra to look younger? You bet I would! Who’s going to give a girl with hearts floating above her head a ticket? Nobody! I’d go as high as a $20.00 fee for a filter of my choosing. This fee could be donated to any number of worthy causes! And, the way I see it, if you use a filter that makes you look ten years younger right now, you’ll look twenty years younger when your photo actually expires. Who wouldn’t want that? This is a great idea! I wondered if they had a suggestion box, and if they didn’t, I bet I could mention it to the person who takes my photo.
Upon my arrival for license renewal, I quickly realized I shouldn’t have focused exclusively on the photo aspect of this experience. There was a lot happening in that office that I had forgotten about. There was a big crowd and a lot of crying kids. Between the crowds and the crying, the sights and sounds reminded me of last minute Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart. No one wants to be at the DMV today or at Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve. This was really distracting me from the calm and casual smile I was trying to create for my license photo. I was quickly losing my focus.
Finally, it was my turn to head back to our friendly, state employee! Kiosk fifteen was waiting on me, and I was on my way with my Snapchat icebreaker and plans for a witty conversation and a calm, cool smile that would last ten years. As soon as I turned the corner to station fifteen, I knew there was a problem. This lady was obviously not in the mood for me. There was no smile and no eye contact. All I got was a monotone request to take a seat and hand over my documents. I quickly lost the courage to talk about Snapchat filters. This lady wasn’t in the mood to play. I did not need to push her buttons because they had already been pushed – and all before 11 o’clock in the morning! That’s when it got really crazy.
When I turned in my paper work, she asked me to put my thumbs on a screen. So many thoughts came to me at once. What? Why? I’m here for the picture! Has this screen been properly sanitized after each customer? I’m guessing not. I’m not a fan of shared surfaces. It is one of my many undiagnosed problems. But, I needed my license and I was scared of her, and I did as I was told. In an effort to lessen my chances for a variety of bacterial illnesses, I accidentally took too delicate an approach. I lightly tapped the surface of the screen. She needed me to press harder on the DMV petri dish. It was going to be like a mammogram for my thumbs! Oh the horror! I reluctantly complied the second time and tried to work my way to a complete recovery so I could prepare for my calm and casual picture. Unexpectedly, she told me I needed to do a vision test and to press my face against the mechanism in front of her and read line four. Hold up, lady. There was no alcohol wipe in sight! My optometrist would definitely not approve! This was not okay with me, either! If I have pink eye or a rash tomorrow, I will know exactly why. It occurred to me at that moment that, if they were to approve my Snapchat filter idea, they could use the funds for wipes for both the thumb machine and vision test! I wish I had mentioned that to her earlier.
With dirty thumbs, a compromised forehead, and a high likelihood for an ocular infection, it was time for the picture. I wasn’t feeling the least bit calm. What I did feel was quite warm from the germ thoughts. I wanted to ask if my hair looked okay but didn’t because, again, it was clear station fifteen lady was not in my fan club. I stood in front of the blue screen as directed and smiled. While I was smiling she told me I could smile if I wanted. This confused me because I was already smiling. Why did she say that? It was all happening too fast, I was starting to sweat, I didn’t know where to look for the photo, and then I heard a click and it was over. Three seconds later, something was printing, and I needed to sign it and get out so she could continue sharing her lovely personality and station germs with others. I signed the document with her community pen and headed to the exit immediately.
I soon realized I had not taken a close look at my paper photo. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Well, so much for optimism. First of all, my upper lip was missing, and I know I have one. She told me not to tilt my head – guilty, I am a head tilter in photos – but she failed to tell me to put my chin down a smidge so I could actually have an upper lip. What is with my eyes? One eye is going to left and one is centered. I didn’t know my eyes could do that! Also, I can barely see my nose. Am I really that pale? All I see in the photo are nostrils, and I am already paranoid about my big nostrils. As a baby, my grandfather used to say if I looked up in the shower I would drown. Now I have a photo with enhanced nostrils and no upper lip. I look like the crypt keeper. This isn’t at all what I had in mind.
If you see this photo on the news – and I hope you don’t – tell your friends my lips are much fuller than they appear and that I actually have somewhat average nostrils. Sadly, even a Snapchat filter is incapable of salvaging this photo.