i woke up at 8am on my birthday to renew my driver's license before a snowstorm was due to arrive in the early afternoon. it was a good day to do it since my license was due to expire today and gave me a little adventure. the watertown RMV was the destination and i'd already checked out the bike route on google map, which showed me a leisurely ride along the charles river. i left by 8:30am, before sandy even woke up. temperature was surprisingly low for some reason, only in the teens, but i was confident that it would rise. i did however have to stop at one point to change from gloves to mittens as my fingers were freezing. there was hardly any traffic on the bike path, a few other cyclists and joggers. the river was partially frozen and the only wildlife were a few canadian geese. i stopped behind the cambridge cemetery and saw what looked to be my grand uncle's grave.

i arrived at the watertown mall early, 8:50am, before the RMV was supposedly opened. there were already plenty of cars on the target side of the parking lot, while the mall side was still relatively empty. i didn't see any signs for the RMV and was suddenly afraid that maybe it was closed. but when i went inside the mall, i saw the hustle and bustle of RMV business.

there were surprisingly few people, normally the RMV is always packed, even early in the mornings. maybe the impending snowstorm kept a lot of people home. the RMV was already open even though it wasn't 9am yet. there was also nobody in line as a woman beckoned me to come forward. she made sure i had all the correct documents before indicating to another woman that i was here for a license renewal. this second woman gave me a ticket which was called immediately. i was actually kind of confused, as i'm used to waiting at the RMV, and stood there kind of in shellshock before another worker told me which counter i had to go to.

while all his other coworkers seemed to be having a good time, the man i got behind the counter was very serious. i was here for a real ID driver license, which is a new identification system that will allow me to use it instead of a passport for high level identity checks. unlike a normal driver license, a real ID requires supporting documents, like proof of citizenship, social security card, and proof of residency. after the clerk looked over my documents (scanning each one into a machine), he took my photo. i looked like a mess, especially after biking all the way from cambridge. i looked oily in the first photo and asked to retake it. the second photo was even less flattery - fat face, tangle of hair - but at least i wasn't greasy, so i accepted the photo. who takes a good driver license photo anyway? and especially during the winter, where i normally pack on an extra 10 lbs. i paid $65 in cash. a typical driver license renewal is $50 (license lasts for 5 years), but because my license also includes motorcycles, it costs more.

i was finished by 9am, where the RMV was technically supposed to be opened. i packed up my things and got dressed before leaving the mall.

i made my way to the cafe. i asked my mother to make me a traditional birthday dish of 2 eggs with some sugar. i returned home after i finished eating.