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Friday, April 5, 2013

DMV or Real Love

My quest: licence renewal

Today, when I opened the mail box, inside was an envelope from the Drivers Service Department or as most of us call it "DMV". Argh. Is it that time again? Really?

This means:
1. New picture (could be better or could be worse, toss-up)
2. Standing in line (possibly a very long time, sigh)
3. Taking a vision test. (I have glasses, so?)
4. Remembering to plan to go (harder than you think)
5. Another fee, paid to the state (thrilled)

Almost what his car looked like
I remember the first driver's test I took. I was seventeen years old, my older brother took me. Which in retrospect, I realize now, was very brave. He allowed me to take the test in his 1976, Dodge, Gold (the color) Duster.

It was June, school was out,  roads were dry and the sky was blue. I was nervous. He was tired.

These are not his legs...
He worked nights loading trucks at the UPS center about forty-five minutes from our home.  After he would load tucks all night, he would then drive another hour away from there to attend university. After classes were over, he would drive home (105 minute drive), collapse in bed for a few hours and then start all over again. If he was really lucky, he would get his homework done too.

All of the way there, he begged me to talk to him so he would stay awake. He kept saying: "you had better pass so you can drive home. I am really sleepy."

I, of course, assured him: I was going to ace the test and get him home lickety split so he could get some shut eye.

We arrived at the DMV, the line was very long. I was worried he would say we had better come another day and conversely, I was hoping he would say we had better come another day. But, he said neither. I am not sure if  it was a result of:  being so tired or so happy to be out the car. Either way he stood with me. No comments, no jokes, no dirty looks.

When they finally called my name, he looked at me and said: "Your going to be great, don't worry" and pushes me towards the official, gently.

I took: the written test, the vision test and between each of these, I looked out over all of the people waiting.
Imagine these filled with people: waiting
My brother was there. In the blue, molded plastic chair, I saw a very tired young man, slumped over his folded arms, drifting over to the side of his chair, sliding into sleep.

The man that sat in the tweedy seat next to me was nice enough. He systematically instructed me to back up, parallel park (my favorite, even today), change lanes on the highway, make many left turns and held me in suspense until we were walking back inside. He said: "Go wake your brother up, tell him: you get to drive home."

I was breathless in my response. He laughed at me, in a kind way, and pointed to the camera area and said "remember to smile, no one ever does" shaking his head.

License in hand, I walked over to the sleeping sibling, gently touching his shoulder, rousing him from his slumbers.  He uncurled himself from that hard old chair, shook his head, as if to revive himself, but looking like he was still drowning in fatigue.

I drove my brother home: knowing what love looks like:  it was personified, right next to me.

1 comment:

  1. Nice story. I especially liked how you ended it.

    I had to renew mine last month, was a little nervous about the eye test. Went to the Wheaton facility during a bad snowstorm.. I walked in and 3 people in line. I was out the door in ten minutes.

    As far as the picture, someone once pointed out to me that very often the photographer tells you to look up, and "when they say look up, look up with your eyes, not your head.".It makes a better picture.
    I did that this time, and it worked out.


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