Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Saga of the Driver's License

We have now been back in Illinois a month, and it was time to exchange our South Dakota driver's license for an Illinois one.

And we would have to take the written exam.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

I haven't studied since my last urine test.

No, seriously, not since about 1995 when I finished college.

Jim download the manual on the Nook for me; I also put it on my laptop so I wouldn't have to enlarge the tiny print. So basically I took the manual to bed with me and I studied it during the day. It was 100 pages long and a little overwhelming. It would be nice if they had a section that was titled, "These are things we want you to KNOW, but they won't be on the test so don't fret." Of course, then people would probably just not read the pages at all. I would, but then, that's just me.

My twin sister had gone through this same scenario about a year or so ago. She worried for days about taking the test. She, too, was overwhelmed with the manual.....dim lights 500 feet from approaching vehicle, can not pass 100 feet from an intersection or railroad tracks, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Finally she had all she could take and just went in and took the test. She passed with flying colors. She told me, "You are worrying too much. Just take the sample test to familiarize yourself and you will be fine!"

Well, I still thought that I should read the whole damn book. I thought some scenarios were not clearly explained and there were some trick questions on the sample test.

I took the sample test twice and decided, THAT WAS IT. It was time to face the music. We decided to go on Friday.

I'm sure it's the same in most states; to get a driver's license, short of giving up your first born, you need a LOT of identification. There were 4 columns listed in the manual: A, B, C, and D. I needed to bring a qualifying document from each column A,B, and C, and TWO from D. The first three were easy; my SD license, my passport, and my SS card. Check.

Now for column D. Proof of where we lived. Hmmm....

- a utility bill - haven't gotten any

- um.....mail from a government agency, village, city, basically an official place. Well, Jim had something, but I didn't.

- A lease would work, so we got a signed copy for that.

Let me just preface this by saying, if I don't do one stupid thing a day, I'm not me or I'm must be off.

- Another possibility on the list said: telephone book.

I said to Jim, "Hey, it's a good thing AT&T just dropped off that phone book to us!"


He looked at me like I was nucking futs. His eyes grew wide and he had a shocked expression on his face, because he knew I WAS NOT KIDDING.

And then the light bulb went on and my brain kicked in and I said, "OH! They mean to bring the phone book in IF YOU ARE LISTED IN IT as proof of residence!"

Well, at this point, we were both laughing so hard. Jim just shook his head at me because, yes, he is used to me.

Okay, I admit it. This old gray mare? Is just getting older every day! And apparently, my brain cells are dissolving faster than all get out.

So, bottom line, we gathered all the documents we needed and prepared to go to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) first thing in the morning.

I wanted to look halfway decent for my photo, so I had to wait a little bit so the imprint on my face from the cpap machine would be gone. It leaves a mark on either side of my mouth so it looks like I'm smiling real big like Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman.

I applied my makeup carefully, and used my little "finishing touch" electric hair remover tool:

to get all the stray hairs off my chinny-chin-chin and to make sure that my mustache was removed so I wouldn't look like my grandmother. I styled my hair, and I must say, I thought I looked pretty good.

At least for me.

Anyway, we got to the DMV with my heart palpitating the minute we walked in. We were directed right over to a counter and silly me thought, "Oh my gosh, maybe we just have to turn in our SD license, and they'll just HAND us an IL one!"

Stop laughing. It could happen. That's what they did for us in SD.

Sooo, Jim was in one line, me in another. The young man began asking me questions like....".is this weight correct on here?"

I said with a straight face, "You can add five pounds." (Snort! More like FIVE x A NUMBER!)

My goal is ALWAYS to weigh what my driver's license SAYS I weigh. (Unfortunately that weight keeps going up.)

My fear is that the DMV secretly has a built in scale by the registration desk, and if you lie on the application, they press a button, the floor opens up, and you are gone, baby gone!

Then the guy asked me, "What color is your hair?"

I replied, "I don't know. What do you think?"

"I don't know. Blonde? Brown?" He said.

"Let's go with brown."


I take a quick eye exam, he sends me to the cashier and I think I am home free.


SHE tells me that I have to take the written exam and sends me to that area.

That man was very, very nice, explained how to take the test, etc.

I walked to a desk away from everybody and sat down.

Okay, deep breath, Pat, relax, you can do this.

The first few questions were a breeze.

Then they threw in a question about, "If you see an animal at the side of the road, what should you do?" and I'm like WHAT? THIS WAS NOT ON THE SAMPLE TEST! WHY ARE THEY ASKING THIS QUESTION! I DID NOT READ ANYTHING ABOUT A FREAKING ANIMAL! ARGH!

Okay. Don't panic. Read the three answers and select the best one. You can do this. I talk myself off the ledge.

The answers were something like this:

a) Speed up and honk your horn.
b) Swerve to avoid them
c) Slow down and proceed with caution.

The obvious answer was "C".

Jim breezed through his test. I read each question twice. So he got graded first and obviously passed because he was sitting in the area waiting to have his photo taken. I brought my test up and I said to the man, "Well, how did my husband do?"

He said, "I'll let him tell you."

Bottom line......I got 100%!! Whoopee! And so did Jim!

The man said, "Do you know how rare this is? We hardly ever get people that get 100%! And for the two of you to do that?"

I said, "Ah, wedded bliss. This doesn't surprise me. We bought a sleep number bed the other day, and the salesperson told me we were the same sleep number!"

He's like, "Seriously?" He turned to the woman next to him and said, "Listen to this!"

So I repeated my story and we all had a good laugh.

Then I went to have my photo taken.

Now. I remember what my other sister had told me. She recently had a state ID photo taken. After the guy took one picture, looked at it he told her that she might want to lift her head a little  (inferring that she would look better without so many chins!)

Keeping that in mind, when the guy told ME to stand in front of the camera, I held my head high, and my shoulders back..

"Sorry." He said. "It didn't work. Too much glare off your glasses. You need to bring your head down a little."


So for the next photo I tilted my head down a smidgen.

"No. Sorry. Still glare from your glasses."

I said, "I guess I should have paid for the glare resistance lens! Can I take off my glasses?


So that's what I did. I took off my glasses, raised my head high (practically looking at the ceiling) so I only had one big ole chin showing. The photo isn't too bad.....except that my face is just shining - and not from happiness - but from oiliness and humidity.

But, I am happy! Because I am now an official Illinoisan.

Back where I belong.


Ami said...

On our driver's test is a question about road rage.

Can't remember all the options, but one of them is 'look him in the eye and tell him to CALM DOWN'.

Words to live by.

So glad you jumped the hurdle and get to be legal now. :)

Snowflake said...

I believe that cameras that do photo IDs such as a driver's license, passport, bank card, Costco card or similar ID have a built- in "distort this person's looks and make them almost but not quite recognizable" and it is used as an entertainment device for people that have to look at the photo ID. When going thru passport control in Germany recently, the guy actually looked at my passport photo, said something in German and started to laugh! Not sure I even want to know what he said!!! lol

Brian Miller said...

ha glad you are official now...and way to ace the test...i tell you the two of you are made for each other...smiles.

Adam said...

I hate the DMV

Eva Gallant said...

This brings to mind the television commercial where they give out DQ ice cream at the DMV. I don't even remember what they are advertising, but I'm pretty sure it isn't ice cream.

Glad you passed and are on the right side of the law when you get behind the wheel!

Lois Evensen said...

Ah, yes, tests. I studied for a blood test this week myself. And, the last time I renewed my drivers license I actually got a picture I LIKE. Now I wish it would be good for the rest of my life because I will never be that lucky again.

I enjoyed your post. :)

Lynda said...

Congrats to both of you!!!! I had to take a written test a few years ago to get the classification that allows you to drive a van full of kids. About 1/4 of the test in TN focuses on penalties for DUI. I remembered studying hard, too. When I started at the beginning of the book, it was overwhelming - - - so I did the parts I knew first and prayed I could understand the others!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Not bad at all for a DMV experience!And funny to boot.

The Bipolar Diva said...

oh the stress of the DMV is almost too much for me! Glad you did so well on your tests! That's amazing! Congrats... :)

Valerie said...

OMG what a performance. I'm glad you got through it okay ... and also that we don't have such a thing over here. Mind you, we're not big enough to have so many states. One licence is all we need and even renewing that doesn't pose problems.

EG CameraGirl said...

Doesn't sound like they make it easy for you, that's for sure!

NixBlog said...

Wow! What an odyssey! At least you both passed with flying colours. Congratulations!
Made for amusing read, Pat.

Wendy said...

Pat, i'm glad to see that "settling down" hasn't tamed your sense of humor!

Carola said...

Funny and it makes me wondering. Normally Germany is known for the burocrats and rules. But we don't have to do the test again. And it is valid in all parts of the country (and Europe, and the US, and Africa, ...)

Furry Bottoms said...

I had to take the written test when I moved from CA to WA. In CA I got 100%. In WA I made 3 mistakes! But I still got my license.

You and your hubby are just so in sync, its cooL! Congrats to both of you for passing!

Liz said...

Nice job on the 100%!! I can guarantee you that most of the drivers here in Wisconsin would NOT be able to pass that test again. They can't dirve for crap.

McGuffy Ann said...

You are awesome! One of my greatest fears is my driving test!!

Donna B. said...

LMAO!!!!! I am so glad I am not the only one who goes through the same thing you did! We are soul sisters.
I am safe until 2014 when I have to renew mine....

SquirrelQueen said...

They really want to put you through the wringer before handing over that card don't they. I've had licenses in five states, GA, AK, OR, CA, then OR again, and finally WA. Each one was a pain except CA, that was a breeze. Your story sounds like my ordeal in OR the second time. I've told hubby if we move again it has to be in WA state.