Who’d have thought the nicest little display of COMPASSION (our Word of the Week) would show up at the Tax Office???
When I moved to Florida, one of the first things on the “to do” list was to obtain a new driver’s license.
I have a fairly happy history of Pennsylvania license experiences; creating enough rapport with the DMV worker was always a key. In turn, they would often cut me some slack and allow me to take multiple photos until I was happy with one.
Yes, I am that vain. I admit and own it.
Unfortunately, when we went to the Florida municipal office in downtown Sarasota, I had two strikes against me:
1. The clerk made clear I would have a maximum of two shots
2. Duane was with me, making sure I didn’t try for more
In Duane’s view, it’s just a stupid driver’s license. It’s not a #$%@* portrait! (He shares this sentiment about Facebook posts, too, not understanding why we have to shoot 40 photos to get “the one” that meets with my approval.)
We also had a limited amount of time, so I sucked it up and posed.
Take one: Horrible.
Take two: Something shifted in the universe and I was captured with a particularly awful “deer in the headlights” look (instead of my traditional smile). Worse, the angle provided a 3-D view of my double chin.
And THIS was the keeper.
Every time I checked in at the airport; every presentation of my license at the TSA; each and every banking transaction that required the dreaded license review was accompanied by my un-solicited apology, “I know; it’s a terrible photo.”
As if anyone gave a hoot about my license photo!
I couldn’t help myself. It was a compulsion; a fixation; this was not ME! This photo was going to walk around with me for YEARS to come and I didn’t LIKE that person in the photo!
It’s been almost two years, and I never made peace with my license. It was always there, a constant reminder of a bad moment frozen in time.
I know, some of you are thinking, “Why not just go and get another one?” My life is just so busy during the day I rarely have time to go out during business hours. The office was a good half-hour away; I knew I’d only get two shots again and while I owned my vanity, I didn’t want to fully give in to it and pay for another license when it absolutely wasn’t necessary.
Until I lost it. (My license, that is.)
On my recent trip home from Omaha, Nebraska, as I collected my baggage and waited for Duane to pick me up, I couldn’t find it.
THIS was the excuse I’d been looking for! A mulligan! A do-over! Hooray!
Turns out, in Florida, if you can find a Tax Collector’s office, you can get a replacement license there. Unsure of the other requirements, I decided to stop by on my lunch break and find out some particulars.
The kind woman at the counter said, “We can do this right now…”
I mentally assessed my hair-in-a-clippie, perspiring brow and workout clothes and was going to take a pass but she was SO nice and there was NO line…
I agreed. And did hear the dreaded, “We can take two shots and see which you like best.”
I thought to myself, “Honey, at 52, I need a full portfolio, makeup and lighting and some Photoshop to boot…” Keeping commentary to myself, I fluffed a bit in the mirror and trekked to the back of the room, where they do the deed. Flash!
She yelled across the room, “Good one!”
I think, “I’ll be the judge of that, sister…”
HORRIBLE. JUST TERRIBLE. Like Phyllis Diller met Broomhilda in an edition of the National Enquirer’s “Stars Without Makeup.”
A little more powder, some eyeliner, and FLASH!
“Another good one!”
HAH! My hair-in-a-clippie do resulted in my naturally round face taking on bowling ball proportions.
Oh no…would this be IT???
I sheepishly walked back to the clerk, spilling out the story of how much I HATED my old photo…
…which she could see, right there on her screen.
She agreed. That was one BAD shot.
Compassion filled her eyes and she said, “Look, no one else is here. We can keep taking them until you find one you like.”
I wanted to leap over the counter and squeeze her in a bear hug. She was my new best friend.
The Tax Collector version of “America’s Next Top Model” began.
“Tilt your head down…open your eyes more…smile!…no, not that much.”
All we needed was Lady Gaga playing in the background and wind machines to give me that fierce Beyonce look.
Fortunately, I always haul a host of hair and makeup products, so I was PREPARED.
Six shots later, clippie removed and hair flowing around my bowling-ball face, we nailed it.
We high-fived! We celebrated! I wrote a glowing review of her government service! And I’ve been showing my license to EVERYONE! (Even people who don’t ask.)
COMPASSION sets you free.
It was a small thing, but it meant A LOT to me. She didn’t have to be so kind, but she was.
Yes, it was a week to show compassion…but how glad I was that it was extended to ME.
For more thoughts on last week’s WOW (and the new one), here we go!
Anyway…Yay! What song do YOU feel like breaking out into?
“We are family…I’ve got all my sistahs with me!”
Or maybe the theme from Friends: “I’ll be there for you-oooo…”
Sly and the Family Stone’s “It’s a family affair…”
Who jumps to YOUR mind when you think of the new Word of the Week?
Don’t forget to draw from your posse this week.