Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Chicago, and while we’re back to the not-quite-spring weather this morning, starting the week with sunshine and warmth was definitely worth it.
Theo and I had a long walk around the neighborhood, and then, I left my trusty sidekick with my mom and grandmother so I could complete the most terrible of errands: a visit to the DMV to renew my license.
In Chicago, the DMV is actually called the Secretary of State, and they perform one hundred million services. In the particular branch that I visited, lines were set up as mazes and it took me about ten minutes and wading through half the population of the city to find the place I was supposed to go just to get my number so I could wait.
“Two pieces of mail,” the man said over his counter, and so I produced two pieces of mail with my updated address from my bag of identification, which I had taken with me just in case. No one wants to be caught without the right papers and sent away.
In case you’re wondering though, you don’t need your passport or social security card to renew a license.
Doesn’t hurt to have them, though.
Next up, I waited for almost an hour to get up to the next set of the counters. In the time I was there, I noted a crazy man in a torn suit reading his social security number to someone on the phone over and over, one million kids, and a woman who didn’t speak English who nearly missed them calling her number. She was with her elderly mother, and when I noticed she wasn’t getting up when they called D416 over and over again, I became panicked and tapped her on the shoulder and sent her on her way.
The DMV causes me anxiety.
Finally, they called my number, and I headed up with my papers. I was overly pleasant, a strategy I use in an attempt to win over the government employees. After looking over my documents, the man asked if I had something else with my address, because my mortgage statement couldn’t technically count.
I explained that I did not. I explained that I had no one with me to vouch that I lived where I did, and I also threw in that I had a baby at home, maybe using Theo to make the man feel like he could make an exception.
He went and checked something, and came back irritated that what I had produced wouldn’t count as proper identification. He asked if I could pull up a bank statement on my phone, and I obliged, trying to figure out how to get my iPhone to pull up a full site instead of a mobile app without anywhere to get a pdf.
I started to panic, again. All of a sudden the man grabbed my phone out my hands.
“Oh, I see, you’ve got it here,” he said, as I stuttered and tried to explain that I didn’t quite have it.
“Thanks for pulling it up for me!” he said cheerfully, throwing a piece of paper over my phone screen. Again, I said I didn’t actually have anything but a blank screen.
Finally, I got that he was doing me a favor and circumventing the system Chicago-style, and stopped loudly exclaiming that I did not in fact have the right items electronically.
That was a close one.
Several hundred lines later, I drove out of there with a valid license with the right address.
Next time, I won’t miss the online deadline, chickens.
Enjoy the sunshine if you’ve got it.