Friday, July 7, 2017

Conquering the California DMV

"There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living.  We are never so wise as when we live in this moment."  - Paul Kalanithi

Driver's License Renewal Day arrives. I'm ready. I'm concerned. I can do this. 

Grateful for morning yoga, I breathe to prepare for an experience instead of a stress test. I think about those who really need to take the test. I've watched today as they roll through stop signs and crowd pedestrians. Never considering signage, so many speed on.

The DMV manual discusses U-turns, tailgating, and how to count minutes needed to drive onto a highway or avoid tailgating. I know the colored curbs, sign shapes, and challenges of truck movements. 

Who has the right of way going uphill? May one turn left on a one way street to a one way street and into which lane?
Consider the meaning of arrows and dotted lines on the highway. Don't ever leave a child alone in a car. Lock your wine in the trunk.
Just walking into the DMV office set off the first feeling of discomfort. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. No place to sit. Not many happy visitors around. It's not about meeting new friends or having meaningless conversations.The assistants and clerks appear less stressed and upbeat. How do they do it? They call my number. I rush to station 32. Emilia observes my stress level as we do the eye test. She smiles. I squint looking across at the ants I'm supposed to decipher into letters. They are smaller than any on the eye doctor's chart or on street signs. What is this about? She gives me more time and I pass.

When I write my check for $33, Emilia has to check with the manager because my cursive-written-July doesn't match my signature. . . . Really? I was a little shaky, no doubt. Will the day arrive when no one will be able to read cursive writing? Emilia advises me that people type their checks. Type? How does one do that anymore on a computer or cell phone?

I studied the 2017 DMV booklet a couple hours a day for a month. Took all the practice tests online. Went to a variety of sites. The test is not like any of those I studied. I soldier on. Miss one by checking the wrong box with shaking fingers. Two more to go.Then the screen flickers: YOU PASSED. I smile for the camera and would have protested if they had not permitted that kinda smile.

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