I went to the license bureau today. It's where you go to get licenses and stickers and to do your driving test. You get in line and wait and sit and shuffle around. The line wasn't bad today, I've seen it worse sometimes, mostly when I'm in a terrible hurry though.
So I had time to people watch. Cause what else is there to do?
I watched two old men, in separate incidents, come back from their tests. You have to retest every year or two after you turn 80 years old. Both of them had obviously failed their tests.
The testers brought them back to the main area, and tried to help them process the fact that they'd failed. Which means that they are at the license bureau with a car and no way to get it home. They might be in shock. They're sad. They're feeling their years and a loss of independence. They are humiliated. Obviously the bureau has evolved some processes for dealing with these old people.
But jeez, I wanted to cry for both of them.
The first one was probably right about 80. I think he was astounded that he'd failed. He waved his arms a bit, objecting. He protested, asking what he was going to do with his car. He seemed shocked when they told him he couldn't drive it home.
The second man was older, probably closer to 90. He came out and sat quietly with his hands in his lap, his fingers steepled together. He seemed frail, almost not understanding as the tester called a tow truck to come and get him and his car to take him somewhere. Home? Was he on the verge of tears? Perhaps thinking about what he'd done wrong? Or perhaps thinking about what to do next, explanations, perhaps retesting, though likely not, selling his car? Was he thinking of losing the last of his independence, the last of his mobility? The last of ... something before he is just old forever.
I think it's a good thing to retest older people. I do. But. This was sad. I wanted to drive both of them home. I wanted to ... I guess I don't know what I wanted.