So I’ve got these funky eyes, one is nearsighted, one is farsighted. This is a mixed bag. They tend to balance each other out in most situations. The good news is that I can function pretty well without glasses or contacts … but not perfectly. The bad news is that when each eye is required to look through a separate set of lenses, like binoculars or the vision test device at the DMV, it tends to scramble my brain (and vision).
My drivers license expired on my birthday. Back in the day, it was the thing to get your driver’s license on the day you turned 16, but that was back in the day.
The polite postcard I received from the state of Missouri informed me that I needed to renew my drivers license, and that there were two options, one was the basic version which allowed me to drive around with my funky vision, or I could opt for the “Real ID” version. The “Real ID” option required more paperwork, but promised special privilege’s like a secret handshake and the ability to fly to exotic locations like Afghanistan. Being the overachiever that I am, of course I opted the the “Real ID” because seriously, who wants the “Fake ID.”
In spite of two moves last year I was able to locate my Birth Certificate and all the required paperwork to achieve a “Real ID.”
I arrived strategically Monday morning about 10:30, thinking the initial rush of early birds would be over, but before the lunch hour rush. I was wrong. I signed in at the computer station upon entering and gave my phone number to receive text updates on my position in line. I suppose the whole computer entry thing was to avoid any human interaction, though we were all using the same keyboard and mouse … whatever. Each station at the DMV was protected by a 30″ by 18″ piece of plexiglass. Apparently the Covid virus knows not to go around that bit of plexiglass.
A few minutes later, my phone dinged to informed me that my projected wait time was 58 minutes. My coffee intake that morning was minimal, 58 minutes seemed doable without a bio-break. I settled in and did a brief inventory of my fellow license re-newies (is that a word?). Most appeared older than me, was there a sort of “happy-hour” for seniors on Monday morning at the Imperial DMV?
To be fair every employee at this location seemed to be competent and maybe most importantly patient. The young African-American woman at the drivers license renewal station maintained a pleasant disposition and cheerful attitude as she helped a variety of seniors navigate the different touch-screen stations.
It was finally my turn. Asked if I had ever blacked out, had seizures, daydreamed, had impure thoughts, or fallen asleep at the wheel, I responded, “No.” Then it was on to the vision test. The moment of truth.
I pressed my forehead against the bar that illuminated the vision test. When asked to read the lines from left to right, I paused for a moment, then realized that by alternately closing my left and right eye I could could read across the whole section. Was that cheating? I don’t think so, and besides, I plan on getting glasses in the near future.