I have become a law-breaker. My crime is that I turned 50 and did not tell the driving licence authorities. To be honest I didn’t think it was any of their business. Besides I was having too much fun at the five-day party my wife threw to celebrate the occasion. But from what I read this week I really should have told them.
Apparently a nasty little civil servant squirreled away in some god-forsaken corner of the government has decided that at my age question marks must be raised about my ability to drive. So I have to renew my licence and provide a medical certificate. This has sent me into orbit. I love living on the Silver Coast, but this must be the most jaw-droppingly stupid piece of interfering, unimaginative and unnecessary bureaucracy I have ever come across. If I was 80 and getting a little vague about turning off the gas fire and things I could understand it. I might even volunteer to be checked. I am confident I will have won the lottery by then so my chauffeur will drive me to whatever ghastly little office this procedure is carried out in. What truly outrages me is it is not just my physical ability to drive that is in doubt. This meddling little pencil pusher has decided I must also prove I am still sane enough to drive. I cannot imagine what kind of appalling emptiness plagues his life and causes him to beaver away into the night drafting nonsense laws like this but I wish to hell he would get back to it. What truly takes my breath away when I think about the imbeciles behind this law is that they have failed to inform the country. The law was introduced in 2005 and came into force in 2008. According to Portuguese newspapers the relevant department received complaints about the lack of publicity surrounding it and in 2007 agreed to write to all the drivers affected. They then discovered this would involve rather a lot of letters. So they gave up. So now it mostly falls to members of the police force to tell people about the law. Normally just before they write the poor driver a ticket. I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse but it seems unfair to hide it and expect us all to come looking. I was perfectly sane until I read about this law. But this might just push me over the edge.