In the second middle drawer of my dresser is a little envelope of sadistic torture.
I have all my drivers licenses since I was 34 years old. My state doesn’t ask you to turn in your old, expired license when you go in and renew. I’m a selective hoarder, and for some bizarre reason I save all of my old drivers licenses. I have them all together in an easily accessible place. Sometimes I pull them out and look at them. Every time I do this, it kills off a little of my inner joy. It’s not healthy. It’s weird.
At first I thought it was fun to watch my hairdo change over the years. The best picture is on my 34 year-old license. That’s probably why I kept it. I read somewhere that most of us think we looked best in our early 30’s.
The drivers license pictures are also a record of my battle with contacts versus glasses. The pictures go contacts, contacts, glasses, glasses, contacts with very red eyes, and back to glasses.
I recognize two favorite outfits in the pictures. One is a pink and white striped top that I always wore with pink slacks. That was probably the last time I ever wore pink slacks. The other is a black and white dress. That was back when you wore a dress to get your drive’s license picture.
But the most interesting record is the record of my weight. The weight on my 34 year-old license is what I hoped I was down to before I got married. I had all four wisdom teeth taken out in the month before my wedding (long story – maybe a blog someday), and I might have actually weighed that for a day.
On all my licenses I miraculously stayed that weight through four children until I hit age 48. I remember that license renewal vividly. Kind of like how people remember getting hit by a car or fired from a job. I filled out the paperwork and handed it to the clerk.
I thought she was a nice person until she asked, “Do you want to update any of this information?”
Looking back at her steadily I bravely lied, “No. It’s fine.”
(Technically that wasn’t a lie. I really didn’t want to update anything.)
“Really. Are you sure?”
I stared back and felt my world crumbling around me. Then, “No. Yes. Add 20 pounds to the weight.”
But she was really, really mean and apparently not satisfied. “That’s it?”
The mean clerk tilted her head down, pulled her glasses to the end of her nose, and looked back at me. But I ignored her and dug in my purse like I had just lost something very important.
She was still staring when I looked up. That made me mad. I snapped back, “That’s the change.” She continued staring, oblivious to how close I was to slapping her, but 20 pounds was all she was going to guilt out of me.
When I got home, I wailed to my husband, “In one hour I aged six years and gained twenty pounds!”
I don’t have to renew my license for three more years, but there’s always that fear of running into another mean clerk. Of course, maybe by then the weight on my license will be accurate. I can hope, can’t I?
As Andy Dufresne wrote to Red in Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” Of course, both Andy and Red were skinny men.