My last driver’s licence photo was taken seven years ago when I was heavily pregnant with my third child. I wasn’t a the kind of woman who ‘glowed’ in pregnancy. I was the kind of woman who ‘puffed’ with pregnancy. Consequently, even though my large tummy was nowhere near the frame, everyone could tell that it was a photo of a woman whose tummy bounced off her thighs during uphill climbs.
So, when my renewal notice stated that a new photo was required – because they are now issuing new licences with whizz bang secure identity thingies embedded in them- I was happy because now was my chance to update the photo.
On the bad side, I was approximately 20kg heavier in the last one than I am now. However, I was also 7 years younger, which created quite a dilemma. My new photo will reveal that I am now back to my normal size post baby, however, I have also developed wrinkles, tired skin and grey hairs at an alarming rate since having children.
This poses the question, which is better: rounded youth or slimmer maturity?
Anyway, I did as instructed by the RTA officer and did not smile when the photo was taken. There is even a sign that prohibits smiling during the photo taking process.
Consequently the photo on my new licence is hideous.
If it was more attractive it would be a mug shot.
On the good side, my grey hairs are well camouflaged amongst the blonde by the flash that had me walking into walls due to temporary blindness for five minutes afterwards.
On the bad side, my pupils are smaller than pinpricks and could lead any police officer viewing it to suspect that I am a long term, habitual crack head.
On the good side, there are no wrinkles on my face because my crow’s feet only come out to play during smile time.
On the negative side, I look like a career criminal who has just been charged with a crime that carries a life sentence of cleaning toilets with a toothbrush. My toothbrush.
My husband and I discussed my new photo and when I asked why no one is allowed to smile he said, ‘because the police want to be able to identify you when they pull you over, and make sure that the holder of that licence and the driver are the same person. How many times have you smiled at a cop who has pulled you over?’
It was a good theory. Certainly one worth investigating, which lead me to consider what types of facial expressions would allow the licencee to be identified quickly, depending on the situation.
The ‘was that a ‘Stop’ sign or just ‘Give Way’? What’s the speed limit around here’ expression.
The ‘in no way did I break the law’ expression:
The ‘Yes, I knew it was a 50 km zone and I was doing 55’ expression.
The ‘OMFG was that a speed camera I just flew past?’ expression.
The ‘No, Officer, I wasn’t texting while driving’ expression.
The ‘I’m really, really sorry Officer. I promise not to do it again,’ expression.
And finally, the ‘my bosoms are too big for this tiny top, and my lips are so big and red’ seduction expression.
So, as you can see, the current licence photo protocol leaves a lot to be desired. It could be improved considerably by allowing people to have a range of facial expressions on their licence so as to accurately reflect that person’s expression at the time of committing an offence. What a pity they don’t have a suggestion box at the RTA.