DMV Woes

California DMV is a complete disaster zone. Why would someone who walks in somehow manage to wait for less time than someone with an appointment? I guess I shouldn’t complain because I ended up benefiting from this today to renew my driver’s license. I was in and out within an hour this morning.

It’s a pretty depressing place, though. Everyone is in a bad mood because they all know that they have to wait — first, just to get into the building (it was raining today, so that made this part even more fun than usual), and the second time, to actually get the real work done, whether that’s a written test, fingerprinting, an eye exam, and/or get your photo taken. I had to fill out a form, have my eyes checked, get fingerprinted, and take my picture. It’s been 13 years since I’ve had my photo taken for my driver’s license. I am smiling in the last photo when I was just 15, but in this photo, I am half smiling. I couldn’t bring myself to fully smile because I remembered the last time I really looked at anyone’s California driver’s license, it was my brother’s — the license he never got to use because he died before he had the chance.

It was sitting in his desk when I came home on July 24th last year. Ed had very recently sat in person at the DMV, waiting to renew like everyone else, because as per California’s stupid, inefficient law, you can only renew via internet or mail two times in a row; the next time, you have to go in person to renew. He had his number called just the way I did, and then had his photo taken. His photo was absolutely miserable. He looked depressed, with eyes as though they’d given up on the world because the world had given up on him. His lips were straight, almost frowning without even really trying. My eyes watered when I saw it.

His old license was in his wallet when our parents picked it up from the Marin County Coroner’s Office. That’s why the new one wasn’t in his wallet. And I had panicked on July 22 when my mom informed me that he was missing and said his driver’s license was in his desk, because I thought… oh my god, he doesn’t want to be found. That’s why he left his wallet behind.

Life really sucks when even a visit to the DMV reminds you of your brother who committed suicide.

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