Another birthday, another driver’s license renewal

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 3, 2000

The issue of driving has been on my mind a good bit lately.

Earlier this week, since my birthday was at the end of themonth, I had to go renew my license. It’s a chore I don’tnecessarily enjoy.

One reason is that blasted picture.

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There’s a reason I like to be behind the camera instead of infront of it. My disdain for the camera must have been evident.

“You don’t want to look grumpy for four years, do you?” asked acheerful driver’s license examiner at the Mississippi HighwayPatrol substation.

Despite a roomful of people and a license-making machine on theblink for a few days, she and another examiner maintained a brightdisposition as they tested folks and handed out licenses.

When I arrived, my take-a-number was 29, and they were on about24. By the time I left, it was up to 36.

Some people didn’t feel like waiting. I was reminded of thetimes I go to the barber shop and a person walks into a fullwaiting area.

“I think I’ll come back tomorrow,” the person will say.

Since I had waited to the next to the last day, I really didn’thave that choice. The wait gave me a chance to think about drivinghabits.

When I’m out driving and some motorist runs a stop sign orpasses me on the interstate like a bat out of Hades, I’ve wonderedif anyone is actually checking on people when they get alicense.

Yes, there is someone.

More than once during my approximately one-hour wait, thetrooper referred a prospective motorist to an eye doctor after theycould not read a certain line on the eye chart. Also, an elderlywoman was asked to return for a driving test before getting herlicense renewed.

The trooper’s actions restored my belief that motorists mustshow some ability before getting a driver’s license. Now at least Iknow people can see that stop sign they’re running — like theother day at the Monticello Street and Railroad Avenueintersection.

I was stopped on Railroad, and there were two vehicles waitingto go west on Monticello. The first went, and I moved forward onlyto have to slam on brakes to avoid the second vehicle that wasapparently oblivious to the four-way stop sign.

You know, there used to be traffic lights there and at two otherMonticello Street intersections.

That’s another driving-related thought that’s run through mymind lately. With an important election next week, I don’t know whyI’d be thinking about traffic lights at a time like this.

Oh well, back to the license renewal.

Since I’d changed addresses from four years ago, that change hadto be made.

Also, the number listed under “weight” on the old license seemeda bit low. I didn’t bother to get it changed. I figured the lowernumber may be an incentive to lose those extra pounds.

Yeah, right. Exactly how many calories does lifting M&Ms orchannel surfing burn?

After completing all the license information and paying the fee(it’s $20 now, you know), it was time for the picture. Oh, joy.

In response to the good-natured examiner, I managed a bit of asmile for the camera. But sorry, MHP, it’s still no work ofart.

The best I can say about it is the small picture is obscured bywriting and the bigger picture doesn’t show the added gray hairsfrom another birthday gone by.

Write to Matt Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS39602.