validation and renewal


I find myself cranky today, for no good reason. Well, it’s rainy, and I have a lot of work to do. I also need to get myself down to the RMV to get my driver’s license renewed, as it’s only valid for a couple more weeks.

I’ve had the license for 10 years now, which means I have to get a new photo for it, too. So I don’t get to renew online. Aside from the laziness factor, and not wanting to waste my productive hours hauling my cranky ass down to stand in line and deal with potentially cranky RMV employees, I should probably be glad to get a new photo.

I got my first driver’s license in California when I was 17. It was a really good photo. I mean, really good. One of those photos that look better than the live person. I remember at least one occasion when some guy at the CVS counter looked at my license and asked if I was a model. Heh.

I think I may have had that license (or at least the same photo on it, since I had to get my actual license replaced when I was mugged) till we moved to Massachusetts in 1995. I lived in Rhode Island for about 6 years, but didn’t have a car there. I may have had a license there, but I don’t really remember it.

I don’t remember, either, what the photo looked like in that first Massachusetts license. I don’t think it was particularly good, because what I do remember is the determination to get me a good photo for the next license.

I remember the day well that I went for renewal. I made efforts to wear a flattering color, wore make-up (which I almost never do). It was a good hair day, even. And then I stood in line for over an hour in stuffy hallway on a hot day. By the time I got called to get my photo, I was tired, sticky, limp-haired, and just in a hurry to get out of there. My interest in getting a flattering photo was drained out of me. The forced smile under the glare of the glasses has been irking me for 10 whole years.

So now I get to prepare for the next 10-year photo. I haven’t had a haircut in over a year. I’m pretty sure no one will mistake me for a model now, with my glasses and perma-ponytail look. I’m okay with that, as long as I can manage a less downtrodden expression.

Maybe what I need is some validation:

Check out at least the first few minutes, if you don’t have time for the whole movie. Found via BipolarLawyerCook, who is back online with a spankin’ new url, after her old blog disappeared for a couple of months. Glad you’re back, BLC!

So, what about you? Have you ever had a really good ID photo? Or a really bad one?

21 responses to “validation and renewal

  1. Considering that I don’t photograph well, I have had a couple of good license pictures. We’ve got to get new ones every four years, so I’ve had several to choose from.

    I was digging around for some missing paperwork and found my passports. Better than mug shots, they are, but most bewildering is how impossibly dewy my skin was. Wahhh.

  2. yeah I hate the whole picture thing–I can lie about my weight in the print but the picture always says something else ;P. loved the video!

  3. I don’t know what’s the matter with NYS – but I’ve had the same photo since like 1992. Seriously.

  4. Hey! That’s TJ, Thyne. I love him! Do you watch Bones? You have every right to be nervous about the new picture, but aren’t you also worried about re-taking the test? I’m getting anxious just thinking about it for you.

  5. In Italy they never replace the photo on the driver’s license, because it is a totally separate document from their ID card. But that means that when people get their driver’s license at (or after) age 18, they keep that same photo FOREVER… which can be pretty amusing if you convince your over-40 colleagues to show you their driver’s licenses. Some of the hair styles alone were laughable, never mind how good or bad the photo was.

    As for my own ID photos… in Italy there are passport-photo-machines set up all over the place that produce photos suitable and valid for whatever ID you need to get (the government considers them valid), and some of the machines allow you a few tries before printing out. I remember the machine I used allowed you to choose the best of 3 shots: in the first one, I looked like one eye was bigger than the other. Then I looked like I’d had WAY too much caffeine (overcompensating for the asymmetric eyes, I opened them both too wide). The one I finally settled on looked merely dorky.

  6. you, alejna, are absolutely amazing. and while i could go on and on and on about how wonderful you are, i think what you’ve done with your blog is evidence enough.

    so hold your head up and smile. even if you’re a crankypants after standing in line for eternity to get the photo taken.

    (oh, and tj thyne… delish!)

  7. Oh I love TJ Thyne! I had a bit of a crush on him because of Bones, then a friend showed me that film and that was it.
    My student ID pictures at high school and uni were mostly pretty bad, but luckily at uni they ask you each year whether you want a replacement photo, and in third year they actually took a good photo. Then I was sad because it was my last year and I can’t use the card with the nice photo anymore! My passport photo is pretty goofy, but I have to wait another 5 years before I get it changed. No driver’s licence yet…I’m working on it (OK that’s a lie, I’m not). :P

  8. FWIW, I think you look like a model in your FB profile pic. I didn’t tell you before because that sounds a little creepy (either from the CVS counter guy, or from me), but hey, you brought it up. I wish they’d let you use your own picture, because you’d be golden.

  9. My passport photos are generally awful but the one on the last passport before this present one was so bad that a customs officer in Jamaica looked at it, looked at me and burst out laughing. sob.

  10. mine have always been fantastic except this latest because i was 5 months pregnant…

  11. I liked my first and HATE my current.

    That video was SO cute.

  12. My first year at university I had the most amazing student ID photo. So when I lost my ID I was most upset about having to get a new photo (which would never be as good). So I was rapt when they offered me the choice between taking a new photo or just re-using the old. Now if only there was some way to transfer that one to other legal documents…

  13. baggagecarousel4

    oh, dear. i thought that bit about “no smiling for the driver’s license” in the short was funny, because no one would ban smiling, right?

    then i saw this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/27/AR2009052703627.html?wprss=rss_metro

    sometimes my home state baffles me.

  14. Your post is reminding me that I’m going to have to renew my passport sooner than I’d like … that photo is who I want to look like every day! I had a customs official look at is and question whether or not it was really me (oh, such a sad moment, that)!

    I’m at work, so I can’t watch your video — not because it might not be work appropriate … and certainly not because I wouldn’t fritter away my work time on such things! No, because my work computer won’t even let the image come up on screen. Perhaps after class tonight … I can usually use a little validation and renewal by the time I get home!

  15. Oh, yeah, look at me, making my comment about your post be all about me. Feh.

  16. de-
    I’m guessing you mean dewy as in “young and fresh” vs. dewy as in “wet with dew.” But I suppose that could depend on how hot it was when you had your photo taken…

    kaye-
    Glad you enjoyed the video! I’m also glad that our licenses don’t require weights on them. I would find that just irritating.

    magpie-
    Since 1992? That’s wacky. Funny that CT seems to require new ones every 4 years, MA every 10 years, and NY every…um….lifetime, maybe?

    Ashley-
    You know, I’ve never seen Bones. I don’t even know what it’s about. (I think there are exactly 5 “current” shows that I have even seen, 2 of which have now ended, so they aren’t even all that current…)
    You gave me a momentary freakout with asking about the test. But Massachusetts seems not to make you take it over again.

    Sally-
    That’s cool that you can have some options about where to get the photo in Italy.
    The RMV lets you preview photos, too, and you can have them retake it. I vaguely recall that I tried more than once with my last one, but still couldn’t manage a decent shot, and just wanted
    to get the hell out of there.

    jenny-
    Aw, thanks. I feel validated! Woohoo! Validation!
    (Of course, I flaked out and avoided going down to the RMV yesterday. It’s now on the agenda for tomorrow.)

    brooke-
    You know, my student ID photo is actually quite good. Maybe that’s the *real* reason I’ve been so slow to finish up.

    Julia-
    Aw, thanks. It’s not creepy from you. (Maybe it should be, seeing as I’ve never met you in person. But I feel like we’ve met.)

    Mary-
    Oh, dear. Laughter? I must admit I’m intrigued.

    Emily-
    How long are you stuck with yours? (It’s amazing how much this varies from state to state.)

    Kyla-
    Glad you liked the video!
    Too bad you hate your current license photo. How long are you stuck with it?

    Quadelle-
    That’s pretty cool that you could just use the stored photo. I love the idea of being able to pick a preferred stored photo for official IDS. (If only they could use my student ID photo for my license. Sadly, though, that photo is going on 9 years old, anyhow.)

    bc4-
    Huh. Life imitating fiction? That is wacked. And I’ve been thoroughly unimpressed by face recognition software I’ve seen. I’ve heard that ears are actually very identifiable, much like fingerprints. If they want to go for computer-recognizable, they should just slap a photo of our ears the ID.

    girlgriot-
    I like hearing about you! Plus, I asked.
    As for the official questioning whether it was really you, I think I had a bit of that with my really good CA license, though usually not in such intimidating circumstances as with a customs official.

  17. Yay TJ Thyne! Yay fun video!

    Made me smile.

  18. I’ve had pretty good luck with my driver’s license pictures in both Mass. and NJ, but my passport photo looks like something from Night of the Living Dead. Seriously – I am white as a sheet, look completely drawn, dark circles under the eyes. I have no idea what happened there but fortunately it’s up for renewal next year.

  19. az-
    I’m glad that made you smile. Me too when I saw it! I should watch it again.

    Kimberly-
    Well, the zombie look is pretty fitting for a passport. It goes well with the jetlag. But I hope your next one is better, anyhow.

  20. Pingback: driving home « collecting tokens

  21. I had a great photo up until this last one. It broke my heart to fork over the last vestiges of perky young me so that I could get frumpy, double chin me in exchange.

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