Of course I’ve driven a few times since that inexcusably ignored expiration date. My last trip to Dallas I drove my cousin’s car and felt like I was 15 sneaking out the family ride, “does he know? does he know?” clanging in my brain every time I passed a police car. I don’t want to overstate the stress this caused me, but I will say that my subconscious has added “Driving Without A License” to my standard panic-dream roster of “Go To Grade School In Your Underwear” and “Oh By The Way, You Didn’t Actually Graduate College.”
One mitigating factor in this otherwise wretched situation is that, apparently, other people are just as dumb as I am. I have at least two close friends who made the same mistake. I asked them about the arduous, 6-week process of retaking their driver’s test. Said my fellow Texpat, Dirk (not his real name):
“Yeah, the whole thing was a little weird, knowing that I was a better, more skilled driver than the sweaty guy telling me things. But it was a nice refresher to have a guy who knew the actual rules of driving -- like where you need to stop at a stop sign (behind the sign) that you forget.”
And my friend Steve (that is his real name):
“You should write about me instead. Because mine expired, I lost my passport too, and in order to get a new passport I had to prove my identity by sending, among other things, a photo of myself from an NY Post dating service called The Meet Market to the United States government. Anyway, the driving test is a b___ to schedule and the proctors are very strict. Why are you asking, you know this is gonna suck.”
So in other words, making my transportation game whole again is going to be a huge pain. Still, it’ll be worth it, just to feel torque pushing through my back again, or to pull up to a light and nod “what’s up?” to the driver in the next lane even though we both know that all that’s up is we’re both driving cars.
No matter how old I am when I walk back into the DMV, at least I’ll know I’m not the oldest person to retake the test -- that honor belongs to Edythe Kirchmaier, who renewed at the record-setting age of 105. Whenever I do finally renew, though, it'll have to be before I say goodbye to this city, because If I ever do leave, I’m gonna motor away under my own power, listening to a kickass “I’m outta here” driving song. Whatever the opposite of the last scene in Midnight Cowboy is, that’s how I’m going to make my exit.
Until then, how about a ride to Costco? I will give you some of the burritos.