I had achieved the impossible. The unattainable. Men and women have surely lost their lives hiking up the mountain of wisdom to ask the old oracle how to achieve what I had unexpectedly and undeservedly achieved: an attractive driver's license picture.
For 10 years, I have had it as a source of comfort in my wallet, a younger, smiling, thinner version of myself. Sparkling organ-donor eyes staring back at me. Sure, club bouncer, of course you can see my license. Oh, what's that, officer? Registration and license? My pleasure!
Alas, a new state, a new state license. With the election creeping up and the voter registration period coming to an end, the need for a new license was looming. But the license gods have not been with me.
To get a license in my state, you need your old license, a birth certificate, a Social Security card and two pieces of proof of your current address. If you do not have these items, there are alternatives you can provide. Which is good, because after our cross-country move, there are a lot of important items that we seem to have misplaced. I waited anxiously to receive a copy of an old W-2 form -- my substitute for the Social Security card -- in the mail. It couldn't have come quickly enough. As debates rattled on, my anxiety at not having my license and registration to vote was at a fever pitch. The day after receiving my W-2, I was headed to the DMV to get my new license.
My husband asked me to wait a day. He hadn't received his information yet and wanted us to wait out the long DMV lines together. Nope, I can't wait. I'm going today.
After some delay in the morning, my husband mentioned the short hours at the DMV. We should wait a day, he said. Nope. I can't wait. I'm going today.
I got in my car, hyper-vigilant of the ticking clock. I needed to get there before they cut off the line. I would have to speed. Just before I got onto the highway, the gas light came on, as if to tell me to wait a day. Nope. I can't wait. I'm going today.
With a gassed-up tank and directions on the GPS, I headed out. I was almost there. One mile away. A half-mile away. Seven hundred feet away. "You have arrived," said my GPS. My GPS lied. There was nothing but a hayfield. I put the address in my GPS again and turned around.
"You have arrived."
Where?! Where have I arrived? At Dorothy's farm post-tornado? At the far end of the home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play? On some desolate post-apocalyptic movie location? There is nothing here!
I called my husband. No service. I drove across the county line. Service. I called my husband again.
"I must have written down the address wrong," I said. "Please give it to me again."
My husband looked at the clock. "It's too late. Maybe you should wait a day to get your license."
"Nope. I can't wait. I'm going today."
He pulled up the website and gave me the address. It was the same one in my GPS. There is irony to a DMV with the wrong street address. "Call them," my husband said. "But I really think you should go tomorrow."
I called the DMV. No one picked up.
I looked up the location of the DMV on a different website. A new address appeared. I was back in business. I turned my car around and got stuck behind a truck lugging straw. Pieces of the dried grass flew onto my windshield and through my open windows. I sneezed. I rubbed my eyes. Bleary-eyed, I looked for a way to go around the truck. My phone rang.
"Mom, I can't talk right now. I'm about to road rage all over this driving scarecrow in attempts to arrive at a DMV that is probably already closed. Achoo!"
My mom said I should wait a day. No! I can't wait! I'm going to get my license today!
I hung up the phone, rubbed my eyes, zoomed around the hay truck and made it to the DMV just in time. I filled out the paperwork and smiled for the camera.
They handed me my new license. Someone could have told me my eyes had nearly swollen shut. My picture looks like Quasimodo.
I should have waited a day.
Katiedid Langrock's column, "Katedid vs. ...," is available at www.creators.com.