Several years ago, not too terribly long after I quit working (translation – still worked my butt off but quit receiving a paycheck for said work) and shortly after Sept. 11th, I lost my drivers license. If there ever was a time to not lose your drivers license, I can assure you this was pretty much it.
I am guessing that it is likely a universal truth that at every DMV you need two forms of identification to replace your drivers license – and at least one should have your picture and the President’s signature notarized in triplicate – thank you very much. Let’s see – I lost my id with a picture (that’s why went to the DMV) – and I used to have a badge for work, but I turned in my employment badge with a picture – yep – when I quit receiving a paycheck. So, up to the line I go. I had my social security card, which I knew would not count, and my birth certificate, which even if it had a picture, it would not have been a recent one. And, apparently foot prints don’t count either. Who knew?
The clerk, as I will politely refer to him, was not impressed with the baby stroller and my tale of woe. But he was willing to help – or so he pretended. “Let’s see ma’am, maybe you have a pay statement with your social security number in addition to your birth certificate.” Yeah – not so much – remember I quit getting paid for my work. “How about a tax return?” Yeah – also not so much – my husband’s pay information is on that – remember – I don’t get paid anymore. And not for nothing – those are not documents that I normally just happen to have on me. If you need a Cheerio or a goldfish cracker – I can help you with that.
“Oh, I see.” I confused this pause with empathy. He quickly corrected my misinterpretation by saying, “well, ma’am (which made me feel old – great – this just keeps getting better) why did you quit work in the first place? You know those kids aren’t going to appreciate it anyway. You would have been better off staying at work. And, you know, we have to be very careful THESE days. You never know who is plotting what.”
Okay, I know stereotyping is bad – but look if you know me, you know I don’t exactly fit the profile of a terr*rist. Seriously, if I was a terr*rist, I would not be in the DMV line in the mall with a baby and a stroller. I would have my underlings make me any id I wanted and I would have gladly denied myself the two hours of sheer pleasure I got that day.
I turned around and looked at the sign behind me. It still said DMV – but apparently our DMV now provided career and parental counseling. Well, isn’t this my lucky day?
My former working self would have demanded to speak to the manager. I would have explained that this is no way for me to be treated. I would have been furious – and, of course, if I had still been working, I probably would not have been insulted in the first place. But, I needed a drivers license and I could tell he was considering giving me one. Bastard. He was cracking. And I left with drivers license in hand.
Fast forward to this week at the bus. Flower had left her viola at home. She realized it at the last minute at the bus stop. She got on the bus and then she had the bus driver stop – she actually got off the bus with tears in her eyes and pleaded with me to bring her instrument to school. I did. (Usually I would say “too bad” but they were practicing on a different day that week than they normally did.)
That afternoon, she got off the bus and ran up and hugged me – really hard. And said, “Mommy, thank you so much for bringing my viola to school.” Huge smile on her face – and then mine. First of all, it melts my heart when my kids say Mommy. And, then she thanked me totally unprompted. Take that, Mr. DMV clerk – and to hell with a paycheck – there are some things money really cannot buy.