Golf and Clam Chowder
A new Challenge in Life!
When I moved to Denmark in 1998, I thought getting a Danish Driver’s License was a challenge. Getting a Danish Driver’s License renewed was even more challenging.
I don’t know how you are supposed to know this, but, apparently, when you turn 70, you have to get a Ds license was good for the 15 years I have been in Denmark.
I just realized 15 years in this country! Holy moly.
Anyway, my husband got on the internet to find out what the procedure is for a DL renewal. We learned that you have to go through your doctor. So, we made the appointment on the internet and then waited for the confirmation of the appointment. Jorgen, being his usual protective and helpful self, said he would go with me in case I needed help filling out the application form. Bad idea we learned later.
We checked in with the receptionist at the doctor’s office, and she proceeded to give me the application form. I sat down next to Jorgen and we tackled the form. Not acceptable. I was told by the receptionist that I had to fill out the form myself, as that was part of the “dimentia test.” Was I still able to fill out the form? I apologized and reassured the receptionist that I could read, write and speak Danish and would, of course, follow the rules and fill out the form on my own, at the desk in front of her so she could observe me. I had only two “yes” markings – confirming that I do not suffer from dizzy spells and I do not have night blindness.
I was called into the doctor’s office when it was my turn. In Denmark, social medicine allows each patient 10 minutes. If you cannot fit everything into those 10 minutes, you make another appointment and come back. Pressure!
I was very nervous, to say the least. First, we started with an eye test. I was to place this plastic contraption in front of my face, and at quite a distance was to perform the eye test. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the darn contraption. The doctor explained and explained. I tried and tried. Finally in utter exasteration, I said “Can’t you just show me how to use this darn thing, please!” Simple when he showed me. Anyway, I got out my glasses and was able to read the first 3-4 lines. The doctor passed me on the eye test. Relief.
Next phase, was to check if my neck could rotate to the right and left with relative ease. Fortunately, my neck did not crack which it sometimes does. No problem there. Passed.
I then had to look straight at the doctor while sitting on the chair, and he raised his left hand into the air and wiggled his fingers, then lowered his left hand and wiggled his fingers. He repeated the same process with his right hand. I was to tell him if I could see his hands and see him wiggle his fingers. Passed.
I had to stand up. Close my eyes and remain standing without swaying right or left or falling over. Passed.
Then he told me – all of this went on in Danish, of course – three items which I was to remember. Something like a TV, telephone, and computer. He then proceeded to ask me if I was paying with credit card or cash. He also said that the credit card machine in the office was not working. So, trying to remember the three things I was to repeat at some stage in this “interview” and processing the information about payment, I said, “I’ll pay by credit card.”
“No,” he said. “I just told you, our machine is not working right now.” So why ask me if it is by credit card or cash? Honestly.
So, I said, “I guess I pay by cash.” Duh.
“And what are the three things you are supposed to remember?” he asked.
“No idea.” I replied.
In defense of my inability to remember, I reminded him that Danish was not my mother tongue. “I am listening to what you are saying in this foreign language, processing what you are saying, and trying to formulate a somewhat intelligent reply,” I said.
“I am well aware of that,” he said. Big surprise there.
He shook his head, and said, “we’ll try again.” This is the “dimentia part of the test,” he reminded me. Nothing like adding to my stress. Three things again. This time I had a strategy worked out and tried to listen to what he was telling me and repeating the three things mentally, checking them off alphabetically on my left-hand fingers. (Danish as a foreign language?)
“So what are the three items I asked you to remember,” he asked. I repeated them. Passed. Relief. One phase of dimentia passed.
Then he asked me to draw a clock. Not sure what that was supposed to test, but I managed to draw a clock. The challenge was to indicate the time on the clock at 11:10. Well, I got so muddled, but I did remember the three items, so I repeated them, just to convince him that I was not diment. I could not get that dang clock right. He kept saying, “Not acceptable.” Finally I looked at my watch and he asked me the time. I told him. Then he said so what would 11:10 be on your watch. I showed him immediately. Of course. Duh. Now I could do it. Passed. Finally. He put everything in an envelope, took me out to the receptionist and asked me to pay Dkr 425.00 (ca. $79.00). Thank you very much. Fortunately, I had my banker husband along, who handed over the amount.
The doctor then handed me the envelope and directed me to the citizen’s service in Gammel Holte – our courthouse. With relief, he suggested, “See you in four years!”
Jorgen and I drove right over there to finish the proceedings. Since I was only three months overdue on my license renewal – a crime punishable by….? Advantage, being a “clueless” foreigner. Thank goodness I am a Caucasian foreigner. It does help. I also let a few American words escape now and again. The general world-wide consensus is that Americans do not speak foreign languages very well. So, speaking Danish and letting slip a few American expressions – “Oh, my gosh, unbelievable, yes mam, yes sir, etc.” helps the situationa. I decided if asked, I was just going to tell them that there are so many rules in Denmark, it takes me a while to work out which rules apply to me.
Anyway, I took my number at the waiting room and sat down until my number was called. All the papers were in order, the teller confirmed who I was, address, etc. and then told me that the photo I had submitted could not be used, because my teeth were showing. I could have a new picture taken by stepping in that little box on the right and we could continue with my DL renewal application. Fine. I stepped into the box, had my picture taken and was then even asked if the photo was acceptable! By this time I did not care. I mean, it is just a DL. I paid another Dkr 215.00 (ca. $40.00), got my temporary LD and was informed that the new license would be mailed to me.
Totally exhausted, my husband drove me home. Now I have four years to practice remembering 3 things, possibly getting new glasses and studying 11:10 I think I’ll ask the doctor in four years to have me draw the same time on my clock.
Meantime, I can continue to zip around Copenhagen in my little Lupo.