Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I Have a Sappy Smile on My Driver's License


If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all

Believe me, I get how the universe works. I know there is no such thing as everything going well at the same time. For instance, somewhere, at any given time, there is a Kardashian on TV.

So, common sense tells you the reverse must also be true, resulting in the phrase, "Well, it can't be all bad..." This is a phrase I've learned never, ever to utter. However, I think it is this rule that resulted in my finally...finally...after three attempts and after logging in over 1,000 miles, got my driver's license.

But what shall it profit a woman if she gains the privilege to drive and loses her place to live?

You see, I was actually looking forward to moving. I really liked the house -- a little period place, not too big, not too small; very cute. It was right in town, close to grocery stores and downtown where there seems to always be something going on. It had a shady backyard and a sunny front yard with a nice little porch. There was room in case one of the Heirs needed to move in.

So, for the past three weeks we've been filling out forms and trying to get a move-in date, but there was always something else the rental company needed. (Do you see the red flags? I saw the red flags, but was told that, because I expect red flags, I see red flags that aren't there.)

So prior to leaving to get my license, we receive a call from the rental company. They've moved another family into that house because a wall in the house the family was renting caved in. We could have the Consolation House (my term; you know, like the consolation prize they give to losers?). Well, I called it the Consolation House until I actually saw it; now I just call it The Dive.

Not only is there not enough room to swing the proverbial cat, but you know how cats will manage to fit themselves into the tiniest box, even though they're overflowing out of it? There's not even enough room for that. And there certainly isn't enough room for our bed.

And the space is its best feature.

It's just temporary, the rental company says. As soon as they get the insurance company appraisal and an engineer to go into the other house and find out why the wall collapsed and hire a contractor to fix the wall and they actually fix the wall, we can have the house we originally wanted. How long could that take, right?

And then, we get to move again!!!!! Because, you know, moving is fun!!!!!!! Just ask my family! They LOVE moving us!!!!! Especially twice in the same year!

Needless to say, having just gotten this news, when Dirtman and I drove up to the DMV, I had pretty much given up all hope of having anything positive happen. Ever. I would just spend the rest of my life, living in my car, driving from one bureaucratic office to another, filling out forms and showing people my birth certificate, which I now carry with me everywhere and show to everyone.

For the first twelve to fifteen times you visit the DMV you have to go to the Information Desk because this is where they tell you what item you need to do what you need to do. But they are only allowed to tell you one thing at a time so that you have to keep coming back. "I'll just go in first and make sure, okay? You wait here," Dirtman said warily.

"Okay, it looks like we've got everything this time," Dirtman assured me. But I wasn't fooled. This was another one of those cosmic carrots on a stick, designed to trigger my hope reflex. But, I figured, this is what I do -- I dutifully follow the carrot and then get whacked over the head with the stick. Sigh. Here we go again.

And so I galumph after Dirtman, the magic DMV voice calls my number and I go to meet my fate.

I don't know what I looked like, frankly. But the clerk looked a little nervous, so maybe I not so much look resigned; okay, maybe even a little psychotic...

I handed her my pile of documentation.

She stamped; she clicked on her computer; she checked off little boxes. She said, "Back up to the screen please. You can smile, but keep your mouth closed."


"For your picture. You need to back up to the screen."

"My picture?"

She looked at me, puzzled. "For your driver's license"


And that is why, for the next seven years, I will be carrying a driver's license on which I look like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

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