Friday, February 3, 2012

What You Look Like

Whatever you look like, it's not anything close to your driver's license photo. I went this morning to renew my license, and let's just say that's never a pleasant experience.

Don't get me wrong; I have excellent BMV luck. I'm usually in and out in under 10 minutes, often under 5. It's always pleasant and gets the job done. But license photos for just no fun.

I had one I really liked. Once. I even used it as my online profile photo; it was THAT good. Then my most recent photo came in my awkward phase with short, spiky hair and a slightly baggy t-shirt that you could tell even from the neckline was a little weird. And I just looked at that picture and thought, "WHAT is that?"

So instead of renewing online and saving that half-woman, half-boy picture for yet another six years, I have painstakingly put the effort into making sure my hair and eyes were just right for a new picture in a new year. Something that might actually look like me for the next six years. Or at least, closer to me.

Sitting in front of the camera, the employee started laying out the rules. Take your glasses off. Sit in the chair. No. Kind of slump forward so you're right in the frame. That's good. Push your hair back so we can see the sides of your head. Now, you can smile, but you can't show any teeth. You have to keep your mouth closed. Look straight ahead. Actually, look down just a little at the bottom of this thing here...

Ok, I can't even see the thing. I have my glasses off. What are you pointing at?


So you show up hunched over, squinty-eyed, with your hair shoved off behind you (despite your attempts at actually making it look good today), with an awkward smile on your face because you're not sure if your teeth are showing or if you've gone too far into that stupid grin that makes you look "special" and there's no countdown on that camera, so out of nowhere it caught you trying to adjust and follow all the rules...

And there you are. For the next six years.


Then the woman has the nerve - the NERVE - to look at you and go, "Ooh! That's a good one! We'll go back over here now." and walk away. When she hands you the receipt with your new picture, your temporary license (the new one now arrives in the mail within about 10 days), you see that "good photo" and start comparing it to Heather Locklear's drunken mugshot. Yeah, it's about accurate.

I realize that when she said "Good," I got excited. I thought i'd pulled it off and taken a decent driver's license photo. All the work and effort that went into it paid off. But in that moment, staring at myself, I was only thinking, "She meant 'good' in the sadistic way. Like a secret society within the BMV where they all try to take terrible photos, then laugh at locking people into THAT image for the next six years."

The cackle should have given it away.

No comments:

Post a Comment