The Driver's License Story

It has been a while since I have written. I’m still trying to deal with the issues of being a quadriplegic. It has been a very difficult transition both physically and emotionally. Isabelle and I go up and down on the spectrum of sanity and depression. It is a real tough slog.
So I will try to relate some of the stories that have been percolating in my mind for months. This story happened while I was still at GF Strong rehab centre and my drivers license expired.


Isabelle was sick the day I was trying to renew my drivers license. She had been going hard and was physically and emotionally worn out, so she took a day off. It was hard for me to plan around my therapy at the rehab centre to get someone to drive me, but I managed to finish early and had time to get to the licensing bureau. My friend Bill volunteered to take me and off we went. We got there around 4:30 PM in the afternoon and the bureau closes at 5 PM so it was actually quite a slow time.

As you can imagine getting me in and out of the van and then to the office is quite an ordeal. Especially since I was new at the whole operation and it takes time and patience for me to do anything. But we made it in OK and we stood in line. There were only a couple of people ahead of us so it was really quite quick. We finally got to the counter and the lady asked what we needed and I said I had to renew my license. She took my old license and my form and started typing away. She then asked for the $75 renewal fee to renew my license for five years. Bill help me use my debit card the put in my pin for me etc.

Then the woman the normal questions - had my height changed? “No.”  Had my weight changed?  I lied and said “no”, and then she asked the question I got wrong. She asked me if my health of changed at all in the last five years… Now you have to realize I rolled in to the bureau in a wheelchair and hadn't moved a muscle except from the neck up. I had my friend Bill do all my banking and pay for me, and then she asked me if my health had changed. I should’ve said no – nothing had changed. I wonder then if I would’ve gotten my license renewed for five years. But here’s where I messed up – I said “Look at me. What do you think?”
That’s when she looked up and saw me, actually took me in for the first time. Then she goes “Oh, we will have to change this. You can’t get a drivers license because you can’t drive, but I can give you a BC services health and ID card, and that is free”. So she had to figure out how to refund me the $75. After that she was totally confused and lost. She admitted that she was brand new and had never had an issue like this.

The supervisor came over and looked at me and started talking away. She then filled out the form and said I had to sign the bottom. I said again – “look at me. That is look at me. I can’t sign anything”. But the assistant said “well, I think you have to”. I said “put the pen in my mouth put the paper on the clipboard and bring it close. I will make my X”. The assistant started doing that and the woman said we can’t do that you don’t know where this pen has been. I said to Bill, “Give me your pen. At least I know where that’s been”. So Bill starts to reach in his pocket and finally the supervisor said that there was a form she could fill out so that I didn’t have to sign,  and I wouldn’t have to sign my license. She said this was much better because after signing the form I would’ve had to sign the electronic device to get my license, and she said the devices isn’t movable, it is bolted to the counter and that pen that they use had been used by thousands of people and she couldn’t verify that it was clean. I’m thinking – “boy this is turning into a boondoggle”.

So the kind lady found the form and filled it out. I didn’t even have to pay for my BC services card, and off we went. All in all quite a funny experience, and if the lady had not looked up and I had said my health was the same I wonder to this day if I would have received a drivers license for the next five years. The only issue would’ve been signing… Now I have a services card with my photo with me in my wheelchair and my head array all around my head. It doesn’t even look too bad.

So that is my story of the pain of dealing with government and government workers. Their heart is in the right place but they are ground down by the public in there and the repetition of their jobs.

I have many more stories like this to tell. Most are funny and a few are sad. I think the next one will be about a common goal – like a bowl of potato chips, and how everyone takes what they think is their fair share. I think the subtitle will be – why Socialism doesn’t work.

In my position I have lots of time to watch, observe and analyze, something about my new life of patience.

Thanks for reading. I dictated this using Siri. So Daniel had to do a lot of editing for me.

Thanks again and take care,

Jim