Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I write to you today as a law-abiding citizen. Sadly, I could not have made the same claim in my last...oh, let's say 100...posts.

It only cost me $28 and an hour of my life to restore my good name. I feared much worse, between you and me. I thought there might be an interrogation of some sort, and I'm a terrible liar. Some sort of wrist-slap, at the very least.

Here's how it happened.

I was in the Bloomingdale's Home Store near my parents' house on Sunday (I know, aren't I fancy?) purchasing a hypo-allergenic comforter for our bed (all the feathers are coming out of our old one.) I was gazing into space while she processed my transaction when I suddenly heard, "Your license is expired." I stared blankly. "It expired on your birthday." "My birthday's not until October," I said dismissively, taking the card from her. Zoinks. She meant my last birthday. Which essentially means I've been driving around with no license for over six months. Or rather, that's what it means. No "essentially."

Six months! What the hell? I've paid my registration; I've voted. Why didn't somebody say something? You mean to tell me I'm supposed to keep track of my own life without official direction? (Turns out that license address for the DMV is a "separate database" from the registration one. And I ask...WHY?)

Suddenly, I felt not so together. Not so capable. I wondered how I manage to keep a toddler from killing herself every day if I can't handle my own basic business. It was jarring, Dear Readers. Jarring, I tell you. It shook me up.

I kept my failings on the down-low for a few days because I needed to find an opportunity to go wait in line (too late for an appointment) without Jarrah in tow. Monday was a possibility, but I couldn't imagine that even the souls in purgatory are forced to visit both the DMV and the dentist in one morning. (Dental aside: speaking of not being able to take care of myself, I have apparently cracked three of my teeth down the middle through the violent act of sleeping.) Tuesday I was with child all day. So, Wednesday was it.

Readers, I'm not totally helpless. For instance, I knew enough to go on-line and check the wait-times at all my local DMVs. Fat lot of good it did me--though Hillcrest said the wait was six minutes, I arrived to a line out the door that took 20 minutes just to obtain a go wait some more. While in line, I overheard the young couple behind me having a conversation, and now I will NEVER AGAIN claim that the dialogue in teen comedies is unrealistic. Apparently, those writers are holding BACK. Here is one snippet, verbatim:

She: How'd you lose your license, anyway?

He: Do you really want to know? I was banging some chick on the beach in Hawaii and I lost my wallet. Totally sucked.

(a little later)

He: So, why did you light your license on fire?

She: It was Mike. He was, like, 'Is tequila flammable?' and next thing I knew, it was burnt up.

Suddenly, I felt really, really smart. That was cheering. Which I needed, because right then we passed into the building and I discovered that the line snaked around three more times before the ticket window. And there was no Matterhorn at the end.

They actually called me pretty quickly. And the gal at the first window was friendly and efficient. I also got to feel sort of smug after she had me read the eye chart and then said "And you're sure you're not wearing contacts?" "The rest of me is going," I told her. "But the eyes are still hanging in."

I figured I was just about done, but then there was a snafu involving one of those computerized "pads" that just would not register my signature, a long-ish wait in a totally different line to punish me for said invisible signature, and then a really long-ish period of watching the gal at the photo desk be dumbfounded that she could not get my name to come up on the computer.

With my societal standing restored, I took matters into my own hands. "Is it possible that my name is still up on the screen over there (here I pointed across the room to the previous line) and needs to be logged out?" And that's exactly what was wrong, Readers. Say cheese, voila! And I was on my way.

See? I'm not totally dysfunctional. Right?


Jennifer said...

haha! Gotta love those visits to the DMV. I'm going to MI this weekend and taking care of some troubling stuff at the DMV. Of course I'm really going home for a visit with my mom (mother's day and all), but hopefully I'll be able to take care of it all!

Anonymous said...

hi- another wade friend sent to check out your blog and as promised, i love it, too
thanks! lisa

Anonymous said...

Dearest Sam,

You continue to live up to my vision of you as living right on the edge, my friend, the lawbreaker!!

And by the way, I would NEVER, EVER remember to get my license renewed if Calhoun County, Alabama, weren't nice enough to send me a renewal notice.


Anonymous said...

Love it, Michelle was right you are great!
Another faithful Wade friend (Galloping Grace)

Anonymous said...

No envy here.

There's a reason why Marge Simpson's sisters work at the DMV, ya know.

Anonymous said...

That's a great post, Sam. What a life!

David and I were shocked nearly speechless when we first used the DMV in Maine. No sooner had we gotten our number than it was called!

Of course, no one deigned to tell us that we needed a vehicle inspection. We drove around for months without having done it and could have gotten a major ticket at any time. We found out completely by accident.

Miss J

The Wades said...

Ahh, write more! Write more!!

"You mean to tell me I'm supposed to keep track of my own life without official direction?"

"It was jarring, Dear Readers. Jarring, I tell you. It shook me up."

"While in line, I overheard the young couple behind me having a conversation, and now I will NEVER AGAIN claim that the dialogue in teen comedies is unrealistic. Apparently, those writers are holding BACK. Here is one snippet, verbatim:"

You're brilliant! :) And thanks for somehow?? thinking I was 33. I needed that gift to boost my day. Love ya!

Type (little) a aka Michele said...

I suspect that CA is much like NY in that you have a one-year grace period on expired licenses? There is no such grace here in the Garden State. If I went in the day after, I'd have to schedule a road test all over again.

My license was once suspended for over 18 months, and I was completely unaware.

But, I've NEVER let it expire. What's the matter with you, woman?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I always get an extension in the mail. I had my 16 year old pic until I got married (at 23) and then I believe I got another one at about 32.

Unfortunately, my kids are at the age where I have to go to the DMV with them for their licenses!

Glad you're legal again.

Caroline said...

That exact thing happened to Russell a few years ago, only whichever store he was visiting refused to let him purchase anything (he was using a check). In his case, he was far enough past his renewal date that they made him take the written test again. Yuck!

My license expired in December, and I was really watching to make sure the same thing wouldn't happen to me, but they just sent me another license in the mail with my old picture. There I am, a decade ago. I'll still be a 20-something into my mid forties, apparently!

I love your blog. You are so great!