Somewhere, Kafka is shrugging indifferently.
Today, a letter arrived. Real O-fficial like. Bearing officious business of officiousness from the guv’ment. Someone officiating on behalf of the Motor Vehicle Division of my fair state.
“It has been more than 12 years since you had your identification picture taken. The law requires you to appear at any of our fabulous locations to have a new photograph taken. Please bring your old driver’s license and, oh yeah, twelve dollars.”
I am required to do this? You are making me? AND I have to, I mean, I get to, pay for the privilege? Does this seem odd to anyone else? Am I being set up? (Or is that just paranoid thinking brought on by too many viewings of Dateline?)
I understand that things cost money. I am aware that there are no free lunches, but it seems kind of shabby to just send a guy a letter demanding that he swing on over to the non-stop party that is the DMV and pony up some green backs to have a new picture taken for his license. No warning. You don’t even ask me if this is something that I’m interested in. Just do it! You have less than 3 months. The clock is running…
Maybe I’m happy with my current picture. Maybe I like the shirt I was wearing on that day in 1997. Maybe it brings out the subtle golden flecks in my eyes.* This seems like a gross violation of my civil rights!!
“You can take my license, but you can never take my FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
OK, perhaps I am being dramatic. Admittedly, I’ve gone too far.
It’s not like I can say no. To drive, to work, to fly, to cross the border, to buy big kid beverages, that piece of plastic with the lamest photo of all time is pretty important. But it just feels, I don’t know, what’s the word? Bureaucratic? My inner-Bill O’Reilly is going off the charts! If I had a call-in radio talk show right now, I would set the lines ablaze with the outraged disciples of the conservative driver’s license holders of America! Telephone networks would crash. News media outlets would have a field day. I would saturate the airwaves with Glenn Beck-esque tears of righteous indignation.
Because it’s that bad.
I’ll spend $12 on lunch without thinking, (OK, maybe not, but still). Yet for the rights and privileges of driving a motor vehicle and identifying myself to the authorities I balk? Seems kind of precious, don’t you think? Especially when you consider, you know, like, actual problems and tragedies, (see France; see Air Asia; see Extremists; see Etc…)
Besides, it’s clearly been a really long time since I’ve popped in over at Ye Olde Driving Shack. I doubt that it’s the kind of place where you go to spend eternity waiting for a number that never seems to get called or where nameless authorities keep you locked in dismal little rooms without windows while they ask you perplexing questions that no one could ever answer.
I bet things have changed. I bet it’s super fast and clean. It’s probably a sort of hip new version of Central Perk from Friends, but with driving tests and pleasant attendants instead of gigantic coffee cups and ironic coffee-snobs. Who knows? Maybe they have costumes and stuff so you can dress up in your picture. I could do a sort of old-timey thing or an homage to Star Wars. That’s it. I just have to find the positives!
I’ll let you know how it goes.
*Full disclosure: I do not, in fact, have golden flecks in my eyes. It just seemed to work.