I survived my milestone birthday without needing any proof of my identity. I didn’t go anywhere in my car that day, either, but I had a nagging feeling that my New Hampshire driver’s license had expired.
I distinctly remembered the last “photo session” I’d had at the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles, five years ago. Amidst the smoking hot and humid August weather, I arrived at the Dover DMV office a frizzled and sweaty mess. There was a line and everyone was grumpy, pushing and shoving. My hair was uncontrollable and the staff “photographer” wasn’t interested in putting my best face forward.
“Two shots, that’s all you get. Pick the one you like best.”
They were both hideous. Vanity, thy name is Baumer!
We’ve all been there.
I was dreading the fateful day. I called the Maine DMV and inquired if there were certain days that were busier than others. Yes, Mondays and Fridays are busiest, Tuesdays are pleasant. Tuesday it was.
I did my homework and thought I was fully prepared. I arrived at the Topsham office with my LL Bean tote bag full of “proof”, took a number, and was immediately called to a window. I presented my case.
“Do you have either a copy of your birth certificate or a passport?”
I had dressed appropriately and I was having a good hair day. I had studied the state’s website. How had I missed such an important component? It was my own fault, but the initial instinct was to blame someone else.
“Are you sure? Isn’t my New Hampshire license proof of my identity? I don’t remember seeing that on the website.”
The state employee couldn’t have been kinder and I knew she didn’t want a woman pulling a John Kerry in her lobby. She pulled up the website and showed me the details, in the nicest way. There was no sarcasm and no “gotcha.” She told me if I came back today, with my proof of identity, I could go right to the front of the line. No waiting.
It was a pleasant day, but I could feel the humidity increasing and I was worried about my hair. Then again, weather experts were predicting rain for Wednesday. I calculated the time involved and the possibility of losing my ambition for this project and jumped back into my Jeep, thundering along Route 196 with my expired license. I slowed down as I approached the old U.S. Gypsum site in Lisbon Falls, a popular Po Po perch. No tickets today, so help me God.
I won’t go on and on. I made it back to the DMV in Topsham, went right to the front of the line, paid my money, and had a “stunning” photograph taken. I got my temporary paperwork and chit chatted with the kind state employee. Then I collected my papers and thanked her.
I walked out the door, happy that I had crossed another overdue item off my long list. Then, out of the blue, I could hear the kind voice of the DMV employee say “Welcome back to Maine!”