Monday, May 04, 2015
Months ago, I took a trip to Australia. In that time, before, during, or afterward, I received in the mail a slim postcard that exclaimed that my Kansas driver's license was due to expire soon. I am not sure I ever saw the postcard, pre-Australia.
I took my Aussie trip, returned home, and lived a normal life until weeks later when I prepared to go to Hilton Head Island, our family's annual Springtime haunt.
My flight reservation was made solely on the thought of when my Dad would be taking his tennis lesson, after which he could drive to Savannah, GA to pick me up. So great in theory...
I glanced at my itinerary on Sunday night. It said I would leave Kansas City at 8:00 am.
That meant I would have to leave the Flint Hills of Kansas at 4:30 am in order to make it through security on time. I opted to leave the afternoon before, and spend the night in Kansas City. This was not a big durn deal; I love spending time in KC.
Ok, ok, Go back to Sunday night, the night BEFORE I was going to KC to spend the night before my Tuesday flight to Savannah, to be picked up by my Dad after his tennis lesson on Hilton Head Island. I was going through mail and bills and recycling so that everything would be "Ducksinarow" for my absence.
My driver's license! EXPIRED!! NOooooooo! How could this be?!!!
It was thus, because that thin little yellow postcard settled in quite nicely in-between my recycling of newspapers. When I returned from Australia, I had a stack of newspapers, the innards of which I LOVE to read (Wall Street Journal). And so I gleaned my papers and there was my Department of Motor Vehicles note. Bah!!!
I showed that Spouse o' Mine the card. I said that I would renew it first thing the next morning, before I headed to Kansas City. The next morning I drove the rural Kansas miles into town to run errands - one of which should have been the DMV. Sheesh! I forgot both the thin little yellow postcard AND some proof that I lived where I do. I drove the rural Kansas miles back home, mid-afternoon, about two hours before my planned drive the opposite direction, to Kansas City. This day was already feeling old.
When I neared our home, I observed lots of big machines, Kansas Department of Transportation (K-DOT), very nearly blocking my drive. Something about re-sealing the road? I screamed shrilly at one husky driver on one husky machine, "Will I be able to drive back out in twenty minutes??" And he smiled and smiled and smiled. Too loud, too much hearing loss from riding loud machines, too much tar-inhaling, whatever. I ran inside, had a drink (of water, people), took my documents and went out the door. I had to drive across our front lawn and make a 4-mile detour because the big machines were indeed blocking the drive by then. I drove back into town, to the DMV parking lot, and that's when I read the sign:
Huh. Not Monday afternoon. After driving 45 miles to be lawful in my driving pursuits...
So you know what I did? I went on down south to Hilton Head and Savannah and drove all the way back to Oklahoma with my Mom and Dad. So there.
Well, it just gets worse. A day after I returned home to rural Kansas, I gathered all things needed to acquire a renewed driver's license. I even made myself presentable, with manageable hair, and lipstick, even. I was going to come out on top of this photo opp, because I knew it was going to be with me for six more years. Off I went, humming a lilty Cell Block Tango, to the DMV.
I walked into the place, and was dumbfounded. There were three people working a giant 20-yard desk, and me. That's all, just me. No waiting. Just me and the three of them. So I walked up to the first guy, and LO AND BEHOLD, it's my son's Scoutmaster from years ago. He used to be a police officer in the higher levels of the force way back when, and I assume he has retired and is now taking a second job. I smiled and started to say hello when he barked, YES!! He BARKED at me, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, go back, step back and look at that wall.
What wall? What the heck?! I looked at the wall and there was some STUPID screen there asking me what I wanted to do.
I wanted to talk to the man sitting at the desk in front of me. So I looked at him (again), and he said, "Pick which option you want to do." I looked from him to the screen and back at him. I didn't even bother rereading it because I was beginning to think I was on Reno 911. He asked, "What option do you want?"
And I smashed some button and walked right over to him.
"Hi! I am Trish Armstrong. Graham's mother. How are YOU?!!!"
I may have been scowling.
Right after that, the lady (far end of the 20-yard desk, "called my number". "Number 16."
Seriously? I am the only one in the office. Seriously?!
OK, so this is where I lost a little bit of control and did not utter, but DID say really loudly, rather scathingly, that "It would be really GREAT if we could just communicate like humans."
I was really angry.
Well, BOOM!!! That former Scoutmaster former cop practically loped the 20 yards down the desk to where I stood fuming.
He smiled and began asking all sorts of "get me up to date on your son, and your family" questions, and then the bombshell of "Do you have any grandkids?" Oh, seriously, this was just getting worse and worse. I wanted to say "Not that I know of." but I smiled benignly and said, "No."
Just then the lady who called "Number 16" looked at my old license and remarked, "Patricia, I see here that your height is 5'2". Is that still correct?"
I looked at her dumbly. I thought to myself fleetingly, "Does she seriously think I would have grown any in the past six years?"
And then, I got it. Sadly, I got it. I am 55. Even though I got up that morning and "spruced" and even put on perfume, I was still 55, and this lady thought I might be shrinking like a pathetic violet. Then she motioned me over to the square on which I was to stand for my new photo. She told me to lower my head and look into the camera. Lower my head. Lower it more. A little more... I didn't want to lower my head because then I have a double chin, lady.
There was nothing, nothing atall pleasant about ANY of this Department of Motor Vehicles chapter in my life.
When I received my new license in the mail this afternoon, of course I eagerly looked at my photo. I am frowning. My eyebrows are greatly raised. I look like a cross between the SNL Church Lady and my Great Aunt Alpha, who could express her opinion with a glance.
I'll take it.