Friday, January 09, 2009

Legally Renewed

Yesterday I was reminded of the importance of reading the fine print. When the notice from the DMV came a month or so ago, I took a quick look and then threw it into THE DRAWER – you know that catch-all place where everything seems to go?

I happened to pull it out yesterday, thinking I had until the end of my birthday month to renew my driver’s license, only to be reminded by my husband that I had been driving illegally for the past 3 days.

So instead of going on a leisurely long walk with Jake, I rushed off to the DMV to make myself legal once again. I must admit they have moved the bureaucracy in the right direction, now issuing each person who comes in a number and calling you to a window when it’s your turn, instead of the old holding pen where everyone waited forever in suspense.

But after I was called to window number 1 (an auspicious start I thought), I was told that I would need either a passport or a birth certificate to prove my legitimacy, since on my birthday I had been “deleted” from the system. I knew there was no sense in arguing.

The clock was ticking and I had only 35 minutes until they closed the doors. So as I got in the car to speed (no, make that drive safely) home, I called my husband and asked him to find my passport. I got it and returned with 15 minutes to spare.

Number C221 was called almost immediately. I did the perfunctory eye test, got my picture taken, was issued my license, had my passport returned, and was out of there.

I had for about 10 seconds considered waiting until I washed my hair today so I could have a more glamorous photo on my license. But I decided to go with slightly oily hair in the interest of correcting my legal status ASAP! Unfortunately I will be looking at this mug for the next 8 years. Hopefully I can keep it out of the hands of the law for that long!


Blogger Charlcie said...

You had a fairly pleasant experience at the DMV...congratulations! Not all of mine have been that "pleasant"!

Wanted to say thanks for your encouraging words about my thyroid cancer that you left on my blog. This is my second go around with it. Original surgery was July 2008 so I'm definitely familiar with it all, just frustrated/aggravated that I have to do it all again. However...I know that I can do it and move on.

As my 16-year-old daughter said, "You've done this before, Mom, you can do it again." I agree!

9:40 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Charlcie -- My thyroid "experience" was in two rounds of surgery as well. If you are in for more surgery, I have some great tapes to share with you. Check this out. Good luck with your treatment.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Charlcie said...

What a beautiful experience you shared!

I did have the radioactive treatment as well. was so strange! Luckily, it looks like I won't have to do that again after my 2nd surgery next week as they believe the reason I still have this confirmed papillary carcinoma is due to it being resistant to the RAI treatment.

10:19 AM  
Blogger karen said...

barbara, i am green with envy at the ease with which you renewed your licence - and they send you a REMINDER too??? wow!!

strangely, mine is also due for renewal this month, Botswana style.

I might well just do a comparative post and link it to this one, but having said that... deep breath, and visualise only a positive experience for next week and I may well be pleasantly surprised (?!) who knows...

10:31 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Charlcie -- Send me your address and I will mail you a copy of the Successful Surgery CD. I guarantee it will make a difference! Please check back to let me know how it went.

Karen -- I would love to hear what it's like renewing a license in Botswana. My limited experience with African bureaucracy tells me one has to have a lot of patience...

I'm so glad we have now connected in so many ways!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Aileen said...

Barbara...I always appreciate your openness and willingness to share...but please, please, please take off the picture of your driver's license! Aren't you worried about all that info? :)

11:23 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Aileen -- There is absolutely nothing on my license that couldn't be obtained elsewhere. It no longer contains a SS#. The bottom line is if you are willing to Blog under your real name, you have given anyone who wants it access to your data. And believe me, no one would want my picture, not this one anyway. But thanks for your concern!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Well, that WAS relatively painless, though it seems they might not want to delete everyone from their database quite so quickly! (Why not give 'em a spare month or so?)

I had the same reaction as Aileen -- though you're right about info being available elsewhere.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Avid Reader said...

Fun to read about your DMV adventure. The last time I was in Manhattan in line at the DMV I read a good chunk of a novel --I am amazed that most people don't bring something to read in a long line--

then the lovely DMV person put that days date on my license as my dob ! I had to get back in line to get it changed. No way could i function being a newborn!

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the photo of the l-o-n-g counter and row of seats! Really captures the institutional feel of DMV offices. Congrats on your successful adventure.

I followed the link to your post-surgery entry; what a heartfelt and beautifully-written post. My eyes welled up. May you and Charlcie both stay vibrantly healthy.

-- F.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Yeah, I was going to lobby hard for a grace period, but grace did not appear to be the operative word and the dirty deletion deed had already been done. I was picturing someone sitting at a computer terminal at the stroke of midnight ready to hit delete on all the people like me who didn't make it in time. But then I'm sure it's all automated and an impersonal program simply dumps the delinquents each night.

AvidReader -- How interesting about the date confusion. I used to work on processing a major US survey done by the Census Bureau. One of the biggest mistakes people made in filling out the form was to put their birth date in the space for "today's date." I'm glad you got your license changed!

Anon -- Any brush with cancer is a wake-up call to treasure life. I was glad to put my thyroid experience behind me, but I still get screened yearly just to be sure.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

My driver's license expired last year, which I did not realize until a week afterward when some guy in a massive SUV creamed me while I was driving home from the cemetery. I went in the next day and got the license renewed with no problem (apparently DC has a 30-day grace period). Who knows when I would have noticed if I hadn't gotten whacked. All things happen for a reason, I guess.

January must be my month for bad car luck, though. Last night I forgot to lock my car (very un-Capricornlike!) and it got rifled through, although as far as I can tell nothing is missing. . . .

6:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Adrianne -- Very considerate that DC has a grace period.

I probably would not have remembered about renewing my license at all if my daughter's license hadn't arrived in the mail yesterday. Then of course I had to go through that AWFUL DRAWER and find the original letter.

Sorry your car was vandalized. At least they didn't take anything or much worse steal it! We Capricorns are usually quite anal about things like locking cars.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Squirrel said...

Interesting DMV story, I'm surprised they delete people from the system so quickly. So much for how much better a computerized system is-- so much more space for info, and yet so easily deleted. You'd think they'd have a special file of deleted people so they could reinstate people who've simply forgotten.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Squirrel -- I think they would rather see the look on our faces as they send us home to look for our passports or birth certificates.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Lemmonex said...

I am actually surprised it was that easy. Those folks at the DMV seem hellbent on torturing anyone who comes through.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lemmonex -- Exactly. See my last comment!

10:36 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

I've actually found the Virginia DMV to be much easier/more pleasant than other DMV experiences I've found. I do think they're working to make it better.

You look pleasant in your mug shot there. I recently had to get "rebadged" for work. I had no idea, until I saw my photo, that that was my work face. I shouldn't play poker.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lacochran -- The smile on my face is saying, "YES! I beat the system despite the odds."

I was actually thinking of calling the DMV and asking if they allow do-overs on the photos, now that I have a legal voice once again...

5:11 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I renewed mine online this year. Next time, it's a new picture. I will definitely need to remember that.

1:42 PM  

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