Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blind Man's Bluff

Blind Man’s Bluff

The last day of last month was my dreaded “Renew your driver’s license or else” deadline. I was pretty nervous about it because my 75 year old body happens to be a very high mileage one with bald tires and the wires sticking out the sides and a worn out, faulty exhaust system. I figure it’s got over 175,000 miles of rough road on it.

After 70, if the clerk has any reason to suspect you might be a danger to others on the road, you can be forced to take the written and possibly the driving tests over again, so you can imagine that I was a bit edgy. I have a permanent disability card and I was concerned that it might automatically trigger a driving testing.

I couldn’t even chance driving to the DMV, let alone take the driving test. My wife drove me there and I left my walker in the car and used a cane. We went in and I took a number, sat down and began to nurse a latte’ my wife had brought in for me.

They called my number exactly at the same time I had one of my fun spasms and the coffee went straight up in the air and landed in front of me, splattering the floor. Thirty seconds of dead silence echoed throughout the place. I think it had something to do with the big sign on the door. “No Food or Drinks Allowed.”

One of the clerks working the two lines came around with a mop and began cleaning up. I apologized and asked if it was going to cost me any points on my license. She looked up and without a smile warned me not to get in her line.

Well, the short of it was that in spite of my obvious difficulties, I walked out of there with a new license and another 5 year reprieve, knowing that unless things change, I probably will not be using it any time soon.

The actual reason I chose that particular, remote office was that my father got his last driver’s license there when he was in his late 80s. It was kind of special. Dad was blind at the time. I told him it was crazy to think he, being blind, could get a driver’s license. Nevertheless, he was determined that he wanted one last license, even if he didn’t have a car or could see the dash board of one, if he had it.

He finally badgered me into driving his even older friend, Red and him there one day. He left his white cane home and used a regular cane. Red went first and with his deep voice, shouted out all the letters on line 6 perfectly and did an equally great job with the colors and the red dot.

As Red came back with a broad beam of a smile, holding his new license, I walked up to the clerk with dad, so he would actually get to the counter. When it came to signing his name on the card, he did a perfect job and when she had him stick his face in the machine, he repeated Red’s answers perfectly. She said, “oops you read line 6 instead of 4, but that’s ok.” She gave him the license anyway.

I pointed dad to the wall where he stood for his photo, with a wide happy grin. He may have been blind, but he was still in charge.

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