There's No "Sense" in "License"
You've seen the Hyperbole and a Half cartoons about being an adult, right? That's me to a T.* The amount of energy I expend being anxious about stuff like going to the bank is ridiculous and shameful (and my triumph in accomplishing them overblown and obnoxious), and it's really a wonder I've gotten this far in my life without the assistance of someone to hold my hand each time modern laws and social customs require that I interact with one of our nation's great bureaucracies (e.g., cable company, health insurance rep, cashier at McDonald's).
I should clarify that this is not to say that Simon doesn't do some hand-holding (I call it "encouragement" and "support"--and sometimes "pestering" when necessary) because he does, and much to both of our embarrassment when, say, I ask him to call and make hotel reservations for me, as if he were my personal assistant and not my lovah. Even with his generous help, though, still greater are the times I'm forced to push through my discomfort (which tends to spiral toward terror) and accomplish things on my own, like cancel the membership to the gym I paid $35 a month to NOT attend for two years, and this week's merry jaunt to the DMV to renew my driver license, which expired SIX MONTHS AGO, meaning I've been motoring around the city illegally for half a year. To a rule-follower like me, that's way worse than jaywalking, the very thought of which gives me palpitations, not that I'm admitting to having ever done it.
My license expired because I never got around to (er...never thought of) changing my address the last two times I've moved, so when my renewal rolled around last May, it got sent (I assume) to the apartment I haven't lived in since 2005. And when did this information come to light, you ask? Last August, when I was going through security at JFK, on my way home from BlogHer, and the TSA official looked down at my ID and then up at me and said, "Hon? This license is expired." At which point I hung my head and voluntarily overlapped my wrists behind my back and waited patiently for the authorities to throw me in the hole with all the other scofflaws.
Happily, a scofflaw herself, the kind TSA lady let me through and I made it home to tell the tale...three months later. Of course, nearly being stranded in New York was not enough to motivate me to actually renew my ID, and thus another three months went by, which included another round-trip flight for which I had to fake my shock at being told by a second TSA officer that my license was (still) expired. Being stranded in Salt Lake would have been certainly more convenient than an extended stay in New York, and yet I still wanted to come home to California AND YET that still wasn't motivation enough and here we are in November, when I finally decided to see what steps I needed to take to get my license renewed soon, in anticipation of this month's two round-trip flights, one of which happens on Monday, as in five days from now. Also, there's the no small matter that I will also probably be getting married this month via an unceremonious signing of a marriage license in front of whatever witness we can pull off the street, and that will certainly require some valid form of identification beyond my kid calling me "mama" but looking like Simon, but that's another story altogether.
Aaaanyway, I went to the DMV today and successfully renewed my license after a modest wait and very little fuss--if you don't count the hours and, in fact, days and months beforehand that I spent completely stressing out about it. I worried about getting stuck in Atlanta, getting stuck in Orange County, getting arrested for driving with an expired license, getting fined, having to retake the written drivers test and failing, having to retake the actual driving test and failing, and having to get my photo taken when I haven't had a haircut since last October (horrors!). This morning I was a total mess of frantic preparation as I rounded up the following materials: my birth certificate, my passport (expired in June, of course), the stub from my social security card (because I couldn't find the actual card, despite having spent an hour looking for it), two recent paychecks showing proof of address, and three forms of payment, not including the promise of my second-born child. Also: a variety of snacks, a bottle of water, a book, editing work, and my phone charger, just in case. It doesn't feel insane when I'm living it, but now, yes, I see how my preparations for an hour-long wait in line resembled a crazyperson packing to winter over in a snow cave until next spring. A snow cave that might not let me back out into the world without a dozen forms of government-approved identification.
(I even prepared a convincing speech should anyone ask if I had driven myself to the DMV that day on an expired license. "No, sir. I took the bus. I'm just holding these car keys for a friend.") (I'm mostly kidding. Mostly.)
Every time I go through something like this and realize what a neurotic freak I can be, it inevitably morphs into annoyance at the public school system. Why? Because we had to take a mandatory Life Skills class in high school, and what did we do there? Learn basic sewing, basic cooking, and basic "computer skills," which was really just typing, something all of us had been doing since elementary school anyway, so basically: a giant waste of time. Cooking? Who needs it? Why oh why don't they teach actual life skills like filing taxes and changing tires and choosing a mortgage and responsible use of credit cards? WHY?!
So, basically, I blame my expired license and subsequent months-long lawless driving spree on the Utah Board of Education. You made me this way. I'll take my reparations in the form of a trophy and never having to make another customer service call so long as I live.
*T or tee? Nobody knows! Not even the OED.Previous Next