State of Identity

Two years ago, I sold my car. I carried my license in my wallet even though I no longer drove. Recently, the license reached its expiration date. Time to exchange it for a State ID I thought to myself.

My husband drove me to the DMV. We joined the other people waiting inside, feeling like the seat cushions that sighed as we sat down on them. Eventually, the digital system announced my number. I tapped over to the counter.

I greeted the employee and said to her, “I’m here to downgrade my license to a State ID.” I settled into my chair as the words settled into my psyche.

The lady navigated through her software to authorize and create an ID for me. She led my through each step carefully. Then, she leaned over to a supervisor, saying, “Ma’am, I need the sign-off for this customer who is surrendering her license today.”

It hit me softer as surrender instead of downgrade for the acknowledgement of what I gave up due to my vision. I never drove after my round of surgeries in 2011. I’m grateful to not have the dilemma of wondering just when exactly do I stop driving as someone with macular degeneration or other eye condition faces, acting before any incident that would keep me up at night.

I grinned into the camera as she snapped my photo. Almost finished now. I scribbled my signature on the line. She handed me the new ID card across the counter and smiled. I returned the smile. I turned to show off my new card to my husband. After we both gawked at it, I tucked it into my wallet like it always belonged.

Do you drive? At what point should someone stop driving?


6 Comments Add yours

  1. I had not felt comfortable driving for years.

    After a massive vision loss in November, I had a filed test done in January. The eye doctor said nothing about driving, and set me up with an eye specialist.

    Hubby encouraged me to keep driving, at least in town. I didn’t. The eye specialist said there was nothing wrong, and I was afraid to drive.

    I didn’t believe him. I called my eye doctor and demanded to see a low vision specialist.

    One glance at that vision field test, and I received a ten minute lecture to never drive again.

    Believe me, I didn’t want to! I’d had too many idiots suddenly appear from nowhere infront of the bumper.

    Selling my car was almost as exciting as the day I bought my first car. Except for the part of having Irritable Bladder and being stuck in a frozen government building with no restrooms for over an hour!

    I did ask the occupational therapist about “driving” one those motorized shopping carts, should I need one. She said I may still be okay for them, for now.

    1. Hey April! Thanks for sharing your experience. And, about the motorized cart thing. I used to work at a grocery store. I witnessed lots of poor driving on those things. Standards and expectations are low.

  2. I remember the word “surrender” being used too when I had to stop driving at the age of 19. For me it wasn’t a hard thing to do. Once I’d been diagnosed and knew I was a danger to myself and others if I kept driving, it was easy to go with the inevitable. The funny thing is that the ID I have instead is an 18+ ID card which feels weird to pull out after the age of 30!

    1. Lucent:Good choice on giving up driving. My ID isn’t quite like yours. It looks very similar to a driving license, but for the THIS IS NOT A DRIVER’S LICENSE message on the back. It makes me chuckle.

  3. jackthecat7 says:

    I have Macular Degeneration and permanently parked my car when I kept losing my lane and parked cars jumped out of nowhere to attack me. The real funny thing is – friends were telling me I was just being silly and should still drive! The thought of hurting someone was the deciding factor. I couldn’t have lived with myself.

    1. Jackiethecat7: Good for you to make the decision to stop driving. makes me wonder what your friends are seeing when they are driving after their reactions to your choice.

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