Today is a terrific day, a day I've been waiting four years for. From this point forward, August 29 will be memoralized as Regional Katie Got Her Drivers License Day. (The region is my apartment mailbox. I plan to place a flower there next year.)
I'm a 31-year-old woman exhibiting the same feelings a 16-year-old would upon getting such a gift by snail mail. I'm even mirroring teenage actions; I've already texted a picture of my licese to Tyler with the message 'Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!' Yes, I included that many h's.
It's been a long road to this point, one that involved law enforcement, tears and endless waiting in DMV lines. I'll start from the beginning.
July 2007: Tyler and I are living in San Francisco without a car. We decide to take a roadtrip up to Vancouver, Canada, so we rent a Ford Mustang and start driving. Tyler, who secretly wishes he was a race car driver, insits on taking charge of the wheel for the entire trip. The feminist in me is not OK with this, so on day four of our trip, I start this conversation:
Me: I'd like to drive.
Tyler: But I love driving and you can just sit and relax.
Me: This isn't fair. Just because you are the man doesn't mean you should be at the wheel for seven straight days.
Tyler: OK, fine. We'll switch at the gas station up here. (we switch about a mile later)
(Now on the road, I'm behind the wheel) Me: This is great, I just love driving through the forest.
(3 minutes later) Tyler: You might want to slow down, I think the speed limit is about 10 miles below what you are going right now.
We pass a cop at this EXACT moment. I get pulled over and given a ticket for driving 15 miles over the speed limit. Oops.
Me (now in the passenger's seat) to Tyler: Don't, just don't.
Tyler: (similing, says nothing and starts driving)
August 2007: I receive a ticket from the State of Oregon for $75 and promptly ignore it, thinking it won't matter because, well, I don't live in Oregon. I subsequently get two more invoices and throw them both away. (stupid, stupid)
October 2007: I receive a bill for $695 from the State of Oregon. Shit. Tears ensue. I come up with an elaborate plan. I write a check for $75, date it for August, tear it up and then tear off the carbon copy and put it in an envelope. Then, I include a new check for $75 and a letter to the State explaining that my first check must have gotten lost in the mail. Genuis!
November 2007: My phone rings at work on a Tuesday afternoon.
Caller: Hi, this is Sheriff so-and-so from Marion County, Oregon and we just received your letter, check and carbon copy in the mail. Ya know, I've seen a lot of scams in my day but this one tops then all. You are going to have to pay that $695, ma'am.
Me: (heart pounding, starting to sweat) Oh no. I'm so sorry for the confusion...I...I mean...I'm not lying...I really think the check got lost....
Sheriff: (cutting me off) Ha! I'm just messing with you. I thought I could get a rise out of you. Not much happens up here, so getting you in a tizzy was the excitment of my day. Don't worry about a thing. You know the mail system, they always screw things up. I'll process your check and clear this matter up right away.
Me: (dumbfounded) OK, thank you, sir.
I look down at my phone in disbelief and then literally start jumping for joy around my office.
June 2008: We leave for Asia, my license is still valid.
June 2009: We return from Asia, my license expires within a few days. Without a car or any plans to buy one, who cares?
February 2010: I apply for a new Social Security card (I lost it), but don't get it in the mail. I need one to get a license.
February 2010-February 2012: Tyler and I rent multiple cars. He gets annoyed that I can't drive anywhere. I'm also annoyed but too lazy to go to the SS office/DMV. My passport is now my only form of ID. Tyler's blood pressure rises at this fact. Mine stays the same (note: laziness).
March 2012: We buy a Honda Civic and drive out to San Francisco. At this point, I'm really wishing I had a license. I go to the Social Security office.
May 2012: My SS card comes in the mail. Celebrations ensue around my mailbox. A few days later, I go to the DMV only to find out that I have to stand in a line that is (not an exaggeration) 120 people long. I'm told to make an appointment online. I go home and do that.
June 2012: I go back to the DMV, stand in line and wait for my apointment. Once I'm at the counter, the clerk looks at my passport and after several keystrokes tells me that my license is suspended because of "something in Oregon."
WHAT?! Karma is a bitch.
I calmy explain that I paid my ticket back in 2007. She smiles, tells me that she will wipe it from my record and hands me a temporary license. "You should get your permanent license in less than six weeks," she says. I walk away, floating on air.
Late June: I stalk the mailbox. No sign of my license.
Early July: Stalking continues.
Late July 2012: Still stalking, now beginning to worry.
Mid-August: I call the DMV's customer service line and after 35 minutes on hold am told that my license is backed up because I'm under suspension in--you guessed it--Oregon. I spend the next seveal days on the phone with Oregon and finally get everything settled.
Which brings me to today, when, upon bringing Lucy in from a walk, I open the mail box to find a beautiful white envelope from the DMV. YAY!!!
I plan to celebrate this weekend by taking the car out for a spin. I'll make sure to obey the speed limits...or come up with a new lie to get me out of a ticket.