My father’s wallet is an ugly color, not quite deep brown or light brown, but somewhere in-between,where he shoved his whole life into the folds. It isn’t leather, but a faux leather, with silver duct tape lining the edges. If you open up this torn, worn wallet, you will see a picture of my daughter on one side and his Texas driver’s license on the other.
I usually don’t seek ways to punish myself, but today, I had to open the old man’s wallet because I needed a piece of information. It is these mundane tasks that stir sadness. The driver’s license is staring me straight in the face, his birthdate, his picture, where he lived, all contained on one laminated official card. Of course, his signature appears on the license, his unique inprint on something that is ordinary. I noticed that his license hasn’t expired yet, although he has passed. It doesn’t expire until a year later, July 2011. It made me laugh, thinking of the absurdity, how time is playing a joke on all of us.
Every few years we are forced to renew our licenses, not looking forward to waiting in lines or processing our on-line payment. In Texas, you can’t exclusively renew on-line in consecutive years, you have to go in and get your picture taken. We all curse this process, the way bureaucracy creeps into our life, stealing our time so it can’t be spent on more meaningful things. It is mundane, the act of renewing a license, but it reveals so much. It is an affirmation that you are living. The alternative, is what I am doing, looking at my father’s picture on his license, wiping a tear from my eye.