As many of you know, I got my driver’s license when I was six months old.Rodney didn’t show interest in getting his until recently, when he turned twelve months old, as he was pursuing other interests…such as rolling a rubber ball to and fro under the living room Lazy Boy…don’t ask. He finally decided that he’d like to venture out to the city and shouldn’t have to travel on public transportation.
Knowing that I’d experienced the ins and outs of obtaining a license, Rodney asked me if I would help him get his. I explained to him that getting a license is an all-day ordeal, at least in New Jersey. So, first thing Saturday morning, I again packed a couple of PB&J sandwiches (my well-known go to staple for adventures) and some sunglasses for each of us and off we went to the Motor Vehicle Commission.
Due to it’s proximity, we walked there, all we had to do was cut through a park. It was such a lovely day that I was hoping we might have time to stop and pee on the roses. The park was just as I remembered it, a lovely place. I suggested we lounge in the sun for a few, but Rodney was worried because we’d forgotten to pack sunscreen. I finally convinced him that we’d be okay for a few minutes and soon found ourselves laying in the sun, coincidentally right by a “all dogs must be on a leash" sign.
Glancing at the geese swimming in the pond as we ate our sandwiches, I had to have that father-son talk that all men dread: no chasing geese, especially when there are so many witnesses, I mean people around. After that uncomfortable talk and the endless questions he posed, I thought we’d better be on our way.
We arrived at the Department of Motor Vehicles promptly at noon - I’ve never been a morning person so this was "promptly" for me, plus we’d lost track of time at the park. Upon arriving, I was mortified to see the interminable line extending out to the street, two blocks down and around the corner. "Yikes!", I said, “What’s this?”, but no one answered. We stood in line for what seemed like weeks, though it was probably more like an hour and a half human time.
While in line, I overheard several disturbing conversations, well not so much overheard as eavesdropped on them. One in particular concerned me. A gentleman was telling a lady that he had to get his license restored as it had been suspended for driving under the influenza.
Let me get this straight, he's sending his license back to a store? Why? Where's the store? Can I just go buy a license for Rodney there? I pondered this idea but thought it would be too much work to find out where this store was and I didn't want to risk losing our place in line after waiting so long, thus, I decided we should just stay put and get an unused license. I also made a mental note of making sure we both took an extra vitamin C when we got home, so as not to catch the flu. I'm not sure why you'd lose your license for getting sick, but have no reason to doubt the gentleman on whom I’d eavesdropped.
Once they called us to the "license issuing person" behind the counter, I was somewhat thrown off by her lack of recognition of our canine persuasion.I remember being bewildered by this too when I got my license years ago. Don't get me wrong, I was pleased that they were not discriminating against us; however, it confused me. I had prepared a speech, I was going to explain that nowhere on the MVC website does it mention that licenses are restricted to humans and that I knew I was of legal age.
Anyway, the counter lady proceeded to ask Rodney for his 6 point ID verification. I was so proud of myself, I'd remembered they required it and had made sure to take documents with me. I'd made copies of Rodney’s AKC registration, his pedigree form and his TKP (Trick Dog Performer) title certificate. I also took a PSE&G bill which, though in dad's name, I thought might come in handy. I gave her the papers and, guess what, she didn't even bat an eye! Between you and me, I don't think she's getting into MENSA anytime soon.
The lady took the papers, read Rodney’s name out loud and rolled her eyes. "This is your name?" she asked, "It's too long, it won't fit on the license. What do people call you?". I pointed to Rodney and said, “Tell the lady your name, twerp”. He said, “My name is Rodney” and she replied, "Okay, ‘Rodney the Twerp’ it is."
There was no time to protest, and I didn't want to call attention to us, so I whispered to Rodney to let it go. She asked if he wanted to be an organ donor. He was as shocked as I was when I was asked that same question years ago, because I don't think he has any extra organs to donate either. What kind of a preposterous question is that??!!?! We both looked at her in stunned disbelief and she, in turn, gave us a blank stare and checked the "no" box. She then told Rodney to "stand there" so she could take his picture.
I was about to tell him to take off his sunglasses, when “snap!”, she took the picture. She didn't even ask him to say "jeez". Thank goodness I’d had the presence of mind to make sure that the J in our PB&Js was peach or he might've had a mouthful of blueberry skins immortalized in his DL photo.
Well, even though it doesn't have his full name and it's not a great picture of him, Rodney was very excited to get his license. He had the same feeling of freedom that I had when I got mine. Oh, to be that young again! So, the next time you're out and about, check your rearview mirror, you just might see a Picard smiling back at you :-)
If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.
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