Monday, April 21, 2008

Don't let this happen to you

If you happen to be reading this, and live in Oklahoma, take your driver's license out right now and check the expiration date. Seriously. Do you know what happens if you accidentally let your license expire, since the passage of H.B. 1804 (cracking down on illegal aliens since 2007) last fall? ('Cause obviously, no legally-residing, law-abiding resident would EVER let their license expire, right?)

Well, here's how it goes down.

You go to the bank (the one you've been going to for YEARS) to deposit your paycheck, and get your usual $20 pocket money, and there's a new kid working. He (overchieving little rule-follower) asks to see your ID before he'll give you your twenty bucks. You sigh, thinking "what kind of inept con-person would steal someone's check and deposit all but $20 of it into their account for them?" You pull out your license and lay it on the counter, rolling your eyes a bit.

"I'm sorry," shiny new kid says, "I can't give you the cash. Your license is expired."

"Oh, it is not!" you exclaim, confident in this knowledge. You take the license back, slip on your reading glasses and see...that he's right. It's expired. You're stunned. And then pissed off. And you curse the state, which decided years ago that sending out renewal notices for licenses was just too damn much trouble. You try to remember the last time you even had your license out of your purse. Nobody ever cards you at the liquor store, you use your debit card instead of writing checks, and, as you're generally a law-abiding citizen, no policeman has demanded "license and proof of insurance" in some time. But expired it is.

"I can't give you the cash. Would you like me to deposit the entire check?"

Of course, you little twit.

And then you will go to the ATM outside and get your own damn $20.

And then you'll head over to the tag agency to get your license renewed on your lunch hour tomorrow.

Which you do.

Great! There's nobody in the driver's license line. This should be a snap. "I'm here to renew my driver's license, which I let expire."

"Sorry. I can't renew expired licenses. You'll have to take your birth certificate to the Department of Public Safety first."

"I don't have my birth certificate. My mother has it in another town. I think." (I hope.)

"Passport?"

"It's expired."

"Where were you born?"

"Missouri."

"Well, you'll have to get a copy of it somehow. The DPS offices are on the westside, in Jenks or in Broken Arrow." (All completely inconvenient locations, by the by.)

"Is this new?"

"Since last November."

Aah...your brain kicks in. H.B. 1804. Damn it!

You go back to work. Your co-workers helpfully point out that you could just go across the street and get a certified copy at the health department for $10. "Even if I was born in Missouri?" Well, NO. Rats.

So, you call your mother. "Do you have my birth certificate?"

"I think I do, but I'm on the way to the hospital to get my foot x-rayed--can I call you later?"

Well, YEAH.

Eventually the birth certificate is located and mailed. ("Should I send it certified?" "GOD no--I won't be home to sign for it and they'll leave a note on the door and I'll have to drive to some post office god-knows-where to pick it up. Just mail it.")

It arrives safely, and you decide that the best time to tackle the DPS is mid-morning. After the first in line people, and before the lunch hour people. (This is a pretty good plan.) So off you go. They're serving #712, and you pluck #725 from the little machine. And you wait. In the few minutes you wait, you hear at least three people mention casually to their companions, "when I was in jail..." Holy shit, just what kind of scofflaws are you consorting with here?

Your number is called, and you decide the best approach to the notoriously surly DPS employees is to immediately admit you're a fuckup.

"What can I do for you?"

"I let my driver's license expire, since I am a STUPID IDIOT, and now I'm here to show you my birth certificate."

He laughs. "You're not an idiot, and I can take care of this for you." Which he does, quite graciously for a civil servant. You sign a form, let them fingerprint your index fingers, and get sent to stand before the blue screen for a picture. You're confused--you were told you'd have to return to the tag agency for the actual license--are you actually getting it here? The picture gets retaken--your head was slightly at an angle--and then he shows it to you on the screen and says "that's good." Good? Not hardly. "Look at your pretty eyes." IS HE FLIRTING WITH YOU?

Then an official form is filled out and stamped, and you are free to return to the tag agency of your choice for the actual license. But be sure to take the form AND your birth certificate AND your old license.

"And you have a great day." Thanks, civil civil servant.

Off to the tag agency.

Great--nobody in the line. This should be a snap.

Which it was. You have to have your picture taken again, and be fingerprinted again (in case you decided to pass off the paperwork to an illegal alien on the way, I guess), and she lets you preview both the picture and your official signature before she prints it. She helpfully points out the expiration date and you make her laugh by cartoonishly impressing that information into your brain. You write a check and you're done.

Thank goodness the world is once again safe for democracy.

And you made employees laugh at both the Department of Public Safety and the Tag Agency. You are obviously a comedic genius.

14 comments:

Sauntering Soul said...

I'm tired from reading all of that. But I'm glad it all worked out for you.

Here in Georgia you almost have to take a day off to get your license because the lines are so long. I've never waited less than 3 hours to get my license.

3carnations said...

It might have been easier to just move back to Missouri.

Did you ask for the license guy's phone number...You know, in case you're back in the market in a few months. Sorry...that was in poor taste.

Tony B. Loney said...

I have to say, as we've agreed many a time, that you ARE indeed a comic genius and you should do stand-up. That was beautiful piece of writing.

Noelle said...

Ha! I had a very similar experience when I transferred my residence to New York, and I didn't have enough "identity points" to prove that I was who I said I was. The state of New York is not about to trust the state of New Jersey to be on point about issuing driver's licenses.

-R- said...

And this is why the name on my social security card is different than the name on my drivers license. Because I hate bureaucracy. Good job on making the people laugh, though! I tend to get the people who take their jobs way too seriously and are like, "Yes, you ARE an idiot."

PS Was the guy who took your picture cute?

Mary said...

I was so afraid you'd have to retake the test, too! Glad to hear you didn't have to exhibit your parellel parking skills (or lack there of).

Stefanie said...

All of that just because your license was expired, and yet when I go to VOTE, they don't even ask for ID. It's baffling.

Also, it's a good thing your mom didn't send the birth certificate via certified mail, since with an expired license, they probably wouldn't have given you the package at the post office! ;-)

gorillabuns said...

You made me look at my license. I DO NOT want to go through this next year.

I'm not half as nice as you.

L Sass said...

So annoying!! Since I don't drive, I barely use my license--only at the airport or the bar.

Mine doesn't expire until 2010, though. Phew!

Edge said...

I also want to give a big shout-out to the awesome state of OK for kicking their illegals out. Nice move. They moved south of the Red River. It's not like we needed any more illegals, but now we can't get enough since they are crossing the Rio Grande en mass now and Louisiana decided to dump their charity cases on us after Katrina. Again, way to be a good neighbor OK.

~Je

lizgwiz said...

sauntering, it was exhausting. But it's done now. And the nation can rest easy knowing one less middle-aged woman has an expired license. (Gasp!)

3car, well, I actually only lived in Missouri for a few months. My parents moved around a lot right after they got married. My older brother and younger sister were both born in Oklahoma--I'm the oddball. But I'm pretty sure Missouri wouldn't be anxious to have me back, lawbreaker and all.

And no, the guy was NOT my type.

bff, I believe we've established that I am, indeed, a genie.

noelle, it's just insane, isn't it?

-r-, I always try to disarm them upfront. Doesn't always work, though. And see above re: not cute. Well, not cute to me. He may well be cute to someone.

mary, had that been the case, I believe I would have just become a pedestrian!

stef, oh my god, I hadn't even thought of that. That WOULD have sucked. And yeah, the voting without ID has never made sense to me, either. The senior citizen volunteers (are there young poll place volunteers anywhere?) are sitting right there with the list easily visible, I could just glance down and choose a name and vote as anybody.

gorillabuns, my work here is done. You will be spared the madness. (And really--you can't even be ONE DAY late.)

sass, I'm thinking of forcing people to card me for a while, just to get my time and money's worth from the damn thing!

lizgwiz said...

edge, oh, you're welcome. ;)

Sauntering Soul said...

You've been tagged!

Stinkypaw said...

I don't get why you're wondering if the "nice" (gem just for that!) DPS employee was flirting? OF COURSE he was!

Glad to read you'll be legal to drive and keep $20 from your next pay check! Woohoo!