I receive a letter from the DPS advising me that it’s time to get my license renewed, also telling me that I’m not eligible for the online service. I figure there’s an eighty percent chance that the people who sent the letter aren’t in communication with the online people who issue the licenses (oh naïve soul), so I decide to try the online renewal anyway. The website’s easy to navigate, but misleading in that it’s made to seem that buying the thirty-four page handbook entitled Texas License Easy Guide is a requirement. I pay seventeen dollars and download the stupid book, press CONTINUE, and a message appears on the screen telling me I’m not eligible for online renewal. My understanding is that, because I renewed online last time, I need to put on shoes and drive all the way over there simply because the jowly woman with the thick glasses wants to see me every eight years.
Because I’ll be flashing the picture regularly for the next four years, I put some effort into my appearance. I curl my hair, choose a flattering blouse, and select my earrings with care.
I’m apprehensive. Last time I got renewed, I cheated on the eye test. After Lasik surgery, one of my eyes sees distance and the other sees near, and when the woman behind the counter asked me to close my far-seeing eye and read the letters, I panicked—but luckily she was distracted by her discussion with the woman sitting next to her about what they were going to have for lunch, and I was able to surreptitiously shift my distance-seeing eye to the adjacent lens. I don’t know if I can get away with it again. Is it foolish to hope that they’ve updated their system to include those of us who have been improved?
I arrive to find only a half-dozen cars in the lot. This isn’t going to be bad at all. People mill around outside the front door. Why aren’t they going in? Curious, I join them. It’s a sloppy group—stringy hair, wrinkled clothes, lazy shoulders. Did they come here not realizing that their pictures will be taken? If you’re longing to hang out in a place where vanity doesn’t exist, go to the Texas Department of Public Safety License Renewal Office.
“What’s going on?” I ask the hapless assemblage.
“It’s closed.” A dumpy thirty-something points at a notice taped to the door.
“They don’t say. There’s just this sign.”
Skeptical, I step forth and read. Yep. Closed today, reopening next week. If driver’s licenses are compulsory, shouldn’t there be someone to issue them? Don’t the people of the DPS know they’re losing valuable customers?
This is typical of the way things have been going lately.
This morning the door fell off the washing machine. Crash! It’s ten years old, a discontinued model, no door available. I’ll have to buy a new machine.
The roof’s leaking.
The thermostat in the shower isn’t regulating.
Already I’ve had to have bodywork done on the car.
And the refrigerator’s water dispenser makes an awful grinding sound and doesn’t release water. The appliance repairman says it’s the plumbing and the plumber says it’s the refrigerator. So I call the appliance guy back and he says he’ll order a part, which is expensive.
We’re handing out money like it’s got no value.
Also, when someone rings the doorbell next door, our doorbell rings.
It seems that there’s not a thing around me that’s working properly. Except my new MacBook Air, which is pretty sensational.
Oh, and my new washing machine, which is nice—a top-loader this time, so no falling-off door.