Disclaimer 1: This point of this post is not to start a messy political debate, so please refrain from making it such. Okay? I’m just in a mood to whine.
Disclaimer 2: I’m well aware that many people are in a much worse position because of the recent shutdown and earlier sequestration, and I don’t really have a right to complain at all. But like I said…I’m in a mood to whine, so here I go…
I recently had a birthday. (‘Tweet, honk,’ go the party horns!) During the week before my birthday, I realized that my driver’s license would expire on my birthday this year. (In Louisiana you have to renew every four years.) This was also the renewal year that required me to actually go down to the DMV to renew, get a new picture taken, etc. (In Louisiana, you can renew online once before having to appear at the DMV again.)
So, good little citizen that I am, I trotted off to the DMV office and sat in the stuffy waiting room for an hour before my number was called. The nice lady behind the desk started the renewal process, and I started thinking ahead to my next errand. But then…
“Um,” the nice DMV lady said, “Is the name on your Social Security card the same as what’s on your license?”
Sensing trouble, I groaned internally. “Uh, no.”
Nice DMV lady shoved everything I’d just given her for my renewal back across the desk and smiled apologetically. “Sorry, but I can’t renew your license until you have the name on Social Security card changed to match your birth certificate and your driver’s license. New law.”
I, seeing miles of red tape and hours of waiting rooms in my future, sighed and stuffed all my documents back in my purse and stomped out of the DMV. (Okay, I didn’t really stomp, but I wanted to!)
The Social Security office just happened to be near my next stop so I figured I’d dive on into the ordeal and get it over with. I arrived one minute after the office closed… Or so I thought. Yes, the door said the SSA office hours were until 3:00 p.m., but then a new, worse horror occurred to me. It was October 1 (Do you see where I’m headed with this?) I’d been listening to the news on the way to the Social Security Administration office and shaking my head over how Congress’s bickering had led to a shutdown of the government. Then it smacked me in the face. The SSA was part of the Federal government. Until the shutdown ended I was outta luck.
I couldn’t change the name on my social security card, I couldn’t renew my driver’s license, and once my license expired, I couldn’t legally drive.
Now I groaned aloud. And I have groaned aloud and gnashed my teeth every day of this inane shutdown. I have been watching the news like a hawk, praying the stubborn men and women in our nation’s capital could put aside partisan politic and see how their refusal to work together is hurting their country.
I’m tapping my foot impatiently, shut in at my house and not driving anywhere (because I’m a law abiding citizen!) waiting for the SSA office to reopen so that I can get to the business of red tape and stuffy waiting rooms. As I write this, no agreement has been reached and my driver’s license renewal is still days away. (Whine!)
Guess I’ll go find a good book to read and escape to a world where there are happy endings!!