A half hour into April fool’s Day 2012, I was being pulled over on my town’s bypass 100 yards from my exit home. My dinner party buzz was long gone when Officer Buck-something informed me of my ten mph driving overage. My blouse wasn’t low enough to save me from the rest of the story.
When the nice officer asked if I knew my license had been expired for over a year and a half, I exclaimed “You’re sh**ing me!” And when he handed me my $70 ticket, I thanked him. He laughed when I added I’d probably be the only one thanking him this week. I wasn’t thanking him by the end of the next week.
Had I seen or received that notification of my license renewal, I’d surely have gone straight to the DMV and renewed the damn thing. I balance my check book the moment the statement comes in the mail. A look back on my 2010 calendar showed my mother’s knee operation and a large event I was planning at the same time. My brains were probably scrambled.
I arrived at Easton’s Department of Motor Vehicles early Monday morning. If I had a plan, it was to just show up and then everything would turn out fine. They refer to that as denial. A mockingbird sang loudly in the bush outside. Maybe a symbol of my innocence or my individuality which was about to be crushed into a paste. I checked in and then turned right back around to go home and fetch all the documentation the gentleman said I actually needed.
See, when your license has been expired for more than a year, you have to take the knowledge and drivers tests again. As I drove home, I tried to remember the catch phrase they were neurotically screaming at the end of a particular Seinfeld episode.
On my return to the DMV, the nice lady named Rochelle said the documents I brought proved I lived in my house but I needed my social security card or a recent W2 form to prove my American citizenship. My tax documents weren’t acceptable. My original Social Security card was stolen with my wallet 10 years ago. And I don’t work. Cue my first teary moment. Then the catchphrase came to me; Serenity Now! Serenity Now!
The Social Security Administration was behind a Wal-mart 20 more miles Southeast in Cambridge. After my half hour wait with an older gentleman from deeper in the Eastern Shore who showed me a booby picture on his phone, the nice lady told me my expired driver’s license was not a valid form of ID. No real surprise there. My intuition had decided to show up during my ride there and had warned me of this possibility. Did I have a life insurance policy handy? I got teary eyed again. How about a note from my doctor? Good thing I’d been sick once and had a doctor…back in Easton.
I drove back to Easton to beg for a form from my doctor’s office signed in red, green, and blue ink but absolutely not black ink. An hour later I was back at the SS Administration swearing that everything I told her was true. She handed me the application receipt for my card and informed me I could now go home and wait for my card to come in the mail.
“Thank you sir, may I have another?”
After driving 120 plus miles around on my expired license, I returned home to wait. My shoulders were tense, my eyelid twitched and I chewed on my lip like it was dinner. My Now had no stinky Serenity in sight.