Gotham Note:
At the DMV
23 May 2018

ΒΆ It was awful while it lasted.

  • My driver’s license expired on my birthday, in January. In New York, a license can be renewed within sixth months of expiry.
  • Leaving the neighborhood in the winter weather was unthinkable. 
  • Plus, I didn’t want to renew my license. I don’t drive anymore. Because of my fixed neck, I cannot turn in my seat to see angled intersections. It has been about twelve years since I was behind the wheel, and on that occasion I drove only on the highway.
  • So I would get an ID. Do you really want to give up your driver’s license, friends cautioned. Yes, I did. 
  • Increasing the perplexity of the situation, there are now three flavors of ID (and of driver’s license, too): standard, real, and enhanced. The real ID is special within New York State; the enhanced ID is a federally-approved badge. To get anything more than a standard ID, applicants must produce a passport, proof of residence (two household bills, usually), and proof of Social Security Number. This last can be a 1099 tax form, or of course it can be the Social Security card that you get when you’re born, or at least that’s how it seemed when I was a kid. I haven’t had a Social Security card in fifty years. Never needed one! Everybody took my word for it. But we live in different times. As for the 1099, who knows where that is. 
  • I found out that an embarrassing letter from the IRS, even though it states my Social Security Number, is not a substitute for the 1099 or the card.
  • So: no enhanced. But by the time I found all of this out, I was perfectly happy with standard. Anything to get out of the DMV.
  • Because, you see, something had gone wrong with the numbered tickets that they hand you when you come in. I never found out what it was. 
  • Nor did Ray Soleil, who accompanied me on this expedition, without whom I’d have been taken either to jail or the emergency room. After two hours of waiting for my number to be called, Ray solicited the aid of a security agent, who, on taking a look at me and acknowledging my resemblance to Santa Claus, decided to help me out. 
  • Although I was bumped to the head of the line, the computers were not happy about this, and for five minutes it seemed that the rescue might fail. 
  • I will apply for a Social Security, and, maybe, go back. 
  • In another life. 

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