My driver's license was just about to expire, so I thought I'd better head over today to the DMV to get my renewal. Since there's a branch in my neighborhood, I didn't give it much thought. I assumed they'd be open on a Saturday. Wrong! I was so mad when I found that out at 10:05. I had taken my time getting ready and had dragged my son with me so he could get an idea of what to expect when it's his turn to get a driver's license. I thought it would be a good life lesson. Listening to mom swearing wasn't the life lesson I had in mind, though. We both had a chuckle over that later.
Meanwhile I had to rush back home and look online to find the next closest branch open on a Saturday. By this time it was 10:10. I found one about a half hour drive away that was open until noon and we headed off. When we didn't find it where we thought it should be my son urged me to pull over at a gas station and ask for directions. It felt like we were in the Amazing Race for a moment. Fortunately someone inside the gas station knew right where it was at and we weren't far away.
Pulling into the nearly full parking lot should have clued me in that this place was busy. The line to the door stretched past several other storefronts in the strip mall. We got into line noting the time was now 10:45. A few minutes later, a man came out asking that all the people who needed to take a written test come with him. Did I have to take a written test? I wasn't sure. It had been 8 years since my last renewal. I hadn't studied up on the rules of the road or anything. Uh oh. The man reiterated if you need to take a written test or even think you might, then come now. When he put it like that, I decided to go.
This moved us up near the front of the line. When it was my turn, the clerk said I needed a vision test only and handed me a number. I was so glad she didn't send me to the back of the line. Then we took our seats in a huge waiting room. There were probably a hundred people already seated. The time was 11:00.
This facility knew how to process people quickly. I was very impressed how deaf friendly the setup was. There was a large screen (almost as big as the kind in airport terminals) that showed which numbers were currently being served. Each counter had its own smaller screen that would post the number being served there as well. When the next person's turn came an announcement was made over the loudspeaker in a low pitched female voice which I could hear thankfully. Even so I continued to keep my eye on the screen so I wouldn't miss my turn. I had brought a book to read but hearing the numbers called off in a steady stream and looking up at the screen distracted me too much to concentrate on my book.
After 40 minutes my number was posted. I practically ran up to the window, greeting the clerk with a sunny smile and enthusiastic "Good morning!" I handed over my old license and then had to answer the tricky questions of height and weight. At that point my son was very willing to be helpful and provide the information I generally fudge on a bit. Drat!
Just when the clerk was finishing up my paperwork, I said, "Wait a minute." The words hearing aid had caught my eye on the piece of paper. I asked the clerk about it and told her I wear two hearing aids. She checked the box and said it added a restriction to my license. I told her I hoped that marking it would help a police officer to know I would need him to speak loud and clearly to me. She nodded and then added an apology for not realizing to ask me about hearing aids. I waved that off saying, "I doubt you see that many people my age wearing them."
Then it was time to pay and pose for my photo. Smile! The camera flashed and a minute later I had my new driver's license. We had finished the process at 11:55. Phew.
My question for you is does your driver's license state that you wear hearing aids? I'm asking because sometimes I actually don't wear mine in the car. Usually for one of two reasons: my hair is still damp from my shower or on highways the road noise that my hearing aids pick up is very loud. Now I suppose I have got to wear my hearing aids every time I drive. What do you think?