“The name we give to something shapes our attitude towards it.”
Good. Grief. Men just have to cough up enough for a sparkly ring, rent a tux, and show up. Us girls not only have to go through the angst of dress fittings, agonizing over catering (incidentally, I didn’t get to eat a thing at my reception; a fact about which I am inordinately bitter), fret pointlessly over flowers, and basically worry for months at a time. And THEN, after the whole affair is over, we get to go around sorting out an entirely new identity, complete with documentation.
Our marriage certificate came in the mail last saturday, a fact we celebrated by almost immediately consigning it (accidentally) to the garbage. I blame J., J. blames me (I think I have a much more convincing case since I’m gone all day and, even though I’m a horrid klutz, I’m not usually that much of an idiot). Either way, I got off work early today so I trekked on over to the county buildings and got a new copy and then, in a burst of energy I know regret, I decided to be productive and get my name changed on a few things as well. An hour later, still waiting in line at the Social Security Administration (listening to the endless repetition of numbers of people who had long ago thrown in the towel, “47?…47?…47?…Is 47 here, please?…47?…”) I finally got that sorted. There was the minor hiccup of me not being born anywhere near the Continental United States, but that minor heart attack was glossed over by the fact that they had my previous information from when I was employed as a student.
Then off to the Driver License Division (otherwise known as the 9th circle of Hell)! However, getting there was a mess because there were two places listed and somehow in my temper frayed state, I managed to superimpose the numerical address of one place on the opposite city. Which meant that I spent another 45 minutes doing loop-de-loops across town trying to find this office. It was housed (read: hidden) in a small bank without any labling on the outside to indicate its presence within. I must have circled that parking lot half a dozen times before I worked up the nerve to just march into a building and demand guidance. Then we had a repeat of the line process, the only difference was that this time I got to sit. Right next to one of the more unusual characters I’ve seen in weeks.
This woman was tiny, the size of a 12 year old, and from the waist down she could have been an octogenearian: varicose veins, droopy tatooes working their way down her calves, and crusty feet. But she had plump childlike hands and arms and a head that I honestly can’t put an age on. Grandma-ish features on a young face and hair color that looked natural. Midway through my wait she answered a phone call and started arguing in the meekest, quietest voice about some sort of payment.
“You’ve gotten me into something I can’t get out of,” she mewed, “I’m a student” [to add further to the riddle of her age] “and I can’t possibly afford to pay for this.”
My ears perked up in spite of themselves, though I kept my nose firmly buried in a David Sedaris book. It sounded serious!
“I didn’t know I had that option,” she chirruped softly, “I was told I was under a contract and that I had to keep buying, so I did, but I can’t honor those commitments now.”
A gambling addiction? A vicious, silken-tonged bookie on the other end perhaps?
“But I only wanted the animated Bible stories and you made me buy lots of other films! It’s terrible of you to try and make me pay for this, it’s about religious material and you were completely false in selling them to me, you should be ashamed of yourselves!” She took a breath and said in an even meeker voice, “I’m sorry you alwas see the worst side of me in these phone calls, I don’t like being so unpleasant, but I’m just so upset.”
A huge letdown, in my opinion.
Another half hour later I was called and with a brief repeat of the question of my natal origins, I got my name changed on my license as well. Then, driving home, I rolled down my window because I thought my car was making a funny noise. Having ascertained it wasn’t, I rolled my window back up but managed to catch my sun visor in the closing pane and heard two terrible crunches before I managed to reverse the window and survey the damage. My visor now has a definite dent down the middle where the plastic inside has been snapped in half and my mirror was shattered. All the way home I was showered with confetti-like shards of glass.
And halfway home I got a text from J. telling me his parents are coming over for dinner. Bless him for cleaning up and doing dishes, otherwise I might have tossed our new certificate right back in the trash in a mood and gone straight to bed. Thank goodness tomorrow is a state holiday and I can sleep in!