Changes.

IMG_3112Last month I had to renew my driver’s license. I’d renewed it before, but this time I had to get an entirely new license. It seemed a shame to have to give up the old photo taken when I had fewer years, fewer wrinkles, fewer pounds, and a¬†little more hair. Once or twice when I’ve been asked for ID the person who’s taken it has said, “Wow, looks like you got a haircut”. Most of the time though they don’t even look.

The DMV was crowded the day I got my learner’s permit, prior to getting my license. A gray haired man swept the room with a steely look and said, “See y’all in five years.”

As I’ve mentioned previously I was rather late getting my driver’s license. Unlike most people I know who got theirs when they were sixteen I waited until…well, the important thing is you might be wondering why it took me so long. My wife thinks I might have had a fear of driving that stems from when I was nine and saw a friend get hit by a car. Maybe she’s right. It was a traumatic experience. Maybe it changed me.

Renewing my license reminded me of how things have changed. Before I’d taken the bus to the DMV. This time I drove to a nearby police station. It was Saturday so it was deserted. All alone I stood at an automated kiosk, paid a fee, and the machine took a selfie.

I wonder what the next five years will bring.

16 Comments

  1. Shawna

    I kept my husband’s old license because he looked like a prisoner about to be booked.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I would say that’s a cool thing but don’t we all look like prisoners about to be booked in our driver’s license pictures?

      Reply
  2. educationalmentorship

    I still have the 18 year-old driver’s license picture that was taken on the day I found out I was going to finally have a baby. The person taking the photo had to keep telling me to stop smiling, so nobody knows how ecstatic I was but me:-)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      What a great way to preserve the memory of that day! And what is it with these driver’s license people telling everyone not to smile in their pictures? I guess it’s because you’re not going to be smiling if you get pulled over.

      Reply
  3. Gina W.

    You’re lucky that you get to keep your old licenses. Where I live you have to turn them in when you get a new one. My last two driver’s license photos were pretty decent. I mean, no one looks like a model in these pictures but mine weren’t cringeworthy. This past May I had to get my license renewed and OH…MY…GOD, it is literally the worst photo I have ever taken. And I’m stuck with the damn thing until 2019. I feel like I should apologize every time I have to give it to someone like, “Please avert your eyes from my hideousness!”. Your photos are fine. You look like a normal, happy dude. Remind me to check in with you in three years for tips on how to pose for my DMV photo.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That reminds me of the British comedian Jasper Carrott who had a bit about passport photos and how no matter how prepared you are you always get a sudden facial twitch right as the camera clicks and that’s the picture you’re stuck with for ten years.
      The nice thing about the automated kiosk is it showed me a preview of my picture and said, “Is this OK?” It wasn’t like the old DMV where it was wham, bam, thank you ma’am because they wanted to move you through the line as quickly as possible. I could have been there for hours trying different faces.

      Reply
  4. cindy dorminy

    Driving is overrated. Wish we had a light rail in Nashville. I’d use it every day.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I know light rail is one of those things that comes up regularly on peoples’ wish lists for Nashville. It would be nice, although I’d even settle for slightly better bus service. I know one thing that’s been proposed is a phone app that will show you where buses are in relation to you. That would be a handy thing, and since they’ve got GPS tracking systems there’s no reason why we don’t already have it.

      Reply
  5. M. Firpi

    I do think that I’m not photogenic at all, and events such as renewing lisences remind me of how I think, yet I accept the fact that they are only events. There are changes with age also, but I think more of terms of being groomed rather than trying to hide imperfections.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Sometimes I think we need to take a lesson from Cromwell and appreciate our portraits “warts and all”. Not so much the cutting heads off kings thing, though, but that’s another story. When it comes to driver’s license and passport photos though it seems no one’s photogenic. It’s probably just as well so few people look at my license photo. It doesn’t look anything like me.

      Reply
  6. Sandra

    Ya gotta live ot when the DMV goes all techy and takes a selfie…I wish I was American. In Canada it’s still a person who takes your picture and when you’re all, “Not that side, this is my best side,” the person behind the camera is all, “Please stop smiling.”

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Not all states down here have the techy DMVs yet–at least I don’t think they do. What is it with them and telling people not to smile, though? Hey, after all the trouble I went through to get my driver’s license I couldn’t stop smiling. I guess if a cop pulls you over you’re not going to be happy about it but if they don’t think I look like my photo I’ll smile on request.

      Reply
  7. Chuck Baudelaire

    I still haven’t gone in to change my DL to my new address. I’ll be a little bummed to give up my current picture, as it’s one of the very few in which I can actually see the resemblance to Precocious Daughter that everyone else insists is there. In other news, PDaughter took a picture of me when I wasn’t looking, and I look exactly like my mom. I don’t want to imply that’s a bad thing, but…who wants to look like their mother?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      No one that I know wants to look like their mother. If they use an automated kiosk where you are I think you should hold your current picture in front of the camera. That way you’ll get to keep it. I don’t know if anyone even bothers to look at the pictures though. I probably could have gone in there with a mask on and gotten away with it.

      Reply
  8. Ann Koplow

    I hope the next five years brings lots more blog posts from you, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you. I hope they’ll also bring many more wonderful comments from you.

      Reply

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