Eyes to Drive

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / vladstar
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / vladstar

I had to do one of life’s necessities this week, renew my driver’s licence. I know there are many people in the world that do not have one but living in a country location where the nearest shopping centre is 15 kilometres and no public transport it is a necessity. With my work I fly often to the city. The airport is one hour drive away, so it would be extremely difficult to do the work I do without that small little card that says I am allowed to drive.

For a short time I was optimistic. The letter offered the opportunity to renew my licence for ten years. I was thinking excellent! I won’t age in my licence photo for ten years. Then my heart sunk. Ten year licences are only available to people under 44 years of age. Another little sign that I am past my prime.

The day after I had my hair re-coloured and cut I ventured in the motor registry to renew the licence. I was going to have this photo for 5 years, I didn’t want any little grey hairs showing. Form filled out, over to counter, all seems to be in order.

“Now” says the registry clerk “If you could just read the bottom line of the eye chart we can finalise this application”

A long moment of panic. I know my eye sight has been fading. Im not completely blind but I do need longer arms when I read these days. I can still read street signs when driving; I just have to wait until I am almost on top of the sign for them to be really clear.

Eye test! I hadn’t thought about it.

I stutter, I gasp, I stop breathing. I urge my eye to focus and re-adjust quickly. Ahh the letters are taking shape



<Hesitate> is that an O or an S….”O” I say ever so meekly


P, ready to say R

“Great work” she says. Phew, I passed! It was more like scraped in, but I’m over that hurdle. “Now if we can just take a photo we will be all finished”

This photo is extremely important. For the next five years it is the photo that is dragged out and paraded as proof of identity at places like clubs and airports. I look at the photo on my old license and realise how much has changed in the last five years

  • My hair was brown, not blonde-covering-grey.
  • The wrinkles around my eyes were not so obvious
  • The deep wrinkle between my eyes didn’t exist, I used to be able to see without squinting back then
  • I am longer teaching three children to drive, there are no learners or P Platers in the family now
  • I have no children at school, we have survived senior school and the Higher School Certificate
  • My car is smaller. I no longer need the people mover car to taxi both my own children and the netball or soccer team around the district.
  • The glove box isn’t filled with music CDs of the latest hits of summer. It now houses the AUX cord so I can play the latest podcast interview through the stereo system.

With new licence in hand I leave the registry with self promises of getting my eyes tested. I also start to wonder what things will be like the next time I renew my licence.

God willing I will be renewing it. Or I might be kicking back on a sun baked tropical island with no need for any transport….though the chances of this are about the same as me passing the eye test in five years time.

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