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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Licensed to eavesdrop

I’ve been saying this for almost 30 years.

If you want to get a look at a true cross-section of Spokane’s population, go to a state driver’s licensing office.

If you suspect you live in a protected bubble of people who think, look and smell just like you do, go to a licensing office. It offers the definitive answer to anyone wondering if there is diversity in Spokane.

Spoiler alert: There is.

More than grocery stores, hockey games or jury pools, the licensing office presents an all-inclusive community profile.

I used to visit one up near NorthTown. Now I go to one in Spokane Valley, when mail or online won’t do.

But it’s always the same. When it comes to people-watching, you see it all. And I mostly mean that in a good way.

A few months ago, I had to replace a lost license. And just this week, my wife needed to renew hers. So we decided to haul out our birth certificates and both go in and get enhanced licenses. Beat the rush, we figured.

The thing that caught my attention during this most recent visit to the licensing office was the fact 12-year-olds apparently can now get driver’s licenses.

OK, perhaps I am wrong. Maybe some of the kids I saw are not really that young. But they sure looked it.

One girl would have seemed right at home wearing footie jammies and holding a stuffed bear.

Some things never change, though. Two women who were strangers commiserated about their dissatisfaction with how they appeared in their license photos. “Do I really look like that?” one asked.

I’m pretty sure it was a rhetorical question.

Ten questions that occur to you as you contemplate driving through a plow-created wall of snow to get into your driveway: 1) Will the impact activate my car’s air bag?

2) When is it appropriate to call out “Ramming speed!”?

3) Am I modeling appropriate, adult behavior?

4) Am I belted in?

5) As I accelerate during final approach, are others in the vehicle apt to think I have taken leave of my senses?

6) How often do you get to say “Hang on to something”?

7) How often do you find yourself exclaiming “Yee-hah!”?

8) If things take a turn, will there be time to bail out?

9) What if the wall of snow has turned into a wall of ice?

10) Why does this remind me of “Calvin & Hobbes”?

Today’s Slice question: Are you already planning a Super Bowl party?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Where do they know to serve you “your usual”?

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