As I veer around what feels like the third stalled semi on Wisconsin Avenue, I wonder what the law says about driving with a license on the day it expires.
I wonder only because I’m driving with a license that expires today.
Traffic is light on Wisconsin Avenue from my place, but starts to get heavier the closer I get to Georgetown. Not a huge surprise since the road narrows to one lane, but still troublesome at seven-thirty in the morning.
I’m driving with an expired license down Wisconsin Avenue because I have to go to the DMV and renew my license. I had to renew in person because I didn’t change my address back when, well, when I changed my address.
Back in 2004.
When I bought a condo.
So now, on a muggy morning four years later, I’m driving McDaneld, a Mini Cooper from Zipcar, (they name the cars in the fleet) weaving gracefully (so I think) in and out of traffic on Wisconsin Avenue, heading towards the DMV located in the Georgetown Park mall.
The parking lot is empty, but under renovation, and the normally incomprehensible garage is now completely impenetrably littered with traffic cones, scaffolding, and yellow caution tape.
There is plenty of parking and I make my way to the western elevator with all of my required documents. Having dealt with the gatekeepers before, I thought it best to pack a few extra verifying documents.
Just in case.
As the elevator doors opened, I found that I was facing the DMV doors, with a lone security guard standing just inside. There was no line.
Then I looked to my left and there were about twenty people lined up a few storefronts away from the doors.
So much for arriving thirty minutes early.
I made my way and took my place in line. There were more than a few parents with their eager teenagers, and a few older folks that made me nervous about getting back on the road.
Thirty minutes later, the line quadrupuled and wound out of my sight.
The DMV opened and the security guard let us know in no uncertain terms that food, drink, and profanity are not welcome in the DMV.
Eventually, I get past the gatekeeper and was dealing with a a DC clerk, inspecting my Speakeasy DSL invoice with disquieting scrutiny.
“It’s a cable internet bill,” I lie. I also smile. It is a conscious effort to show teeth and widen my eyes, but not too much. Just smiling doesn’t work. The eyes have to open wider by a tiny fraction, otherwise it ruins the illusion of being genuine.
“Oh.” She smiles back and nods. I see her scribble the word, “cable” in her portion of the form.
I ask for her name and thank her for her time and she smiles and waves me off to the photo side of the DMV. Out of sight, around the corner, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Minutes later, I look at my license with my new photo and look at my watch. It’s been one and a half hours.
I think that’s a new record.
At least next time, in 2013, provided I’m still in this condo, I can do this online.