Sparked by Words

This is the year to renew my driver’s license. Last Thursday I drove to my California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) appointment in Oceanside (yes, Oceanside, 46 miles south of where I live, about an hour’s drive if there are no traffic mishaps, as there were no appointments any time at a closer DMV) to get my license renewed with REAL ID, and found that, despite the fact that I brought everything except my college transcript, I still didn’t bring what they wanted.

I brought what I thought was our marriage license, which proves I once had a different last name that changed when we got married, (yeah, impacts mostly women, not men – how fair is that?) but it was a copy and they wouldn’t accept it. What I thought was a bona fide authentic copy is just a photocopy – ACK! The original is probably road kill on Route 66 or sitting in a forgotten box after one of many moves. Sure isn’t something I framed and put on the wall. So I can’t get my REAL ID until I produce the damn real marriage license copy.

That afternoon the DMV nearly turned me into a terrorist. Into a screaming meamie at any rate. If you heard someone yelling last Thursday afternoon, it was me, in Oceanside at the DMV. So much for Homeland Security beginning with me.

I could have produced a passport instead of a marriage license but I don’t have a passport either, and the passport office probably also wants our original marriage license which I still don’t have. I ask you: who would put up with a marriage for 47 years and lie about it? Maybe I should just get a divorce and bring those papers – but the court probably also wants the original marriage license to get a divorce from this crazy marriage!!!

BTW: Did you know that the Department of Records and Licenses archives marriage certificates, but you have to get a copy of a divorce certificate from Superior Court? One of the useful things I’ve learned trying to get my license renewed.

Now I know why Orthodox Jews show up with stinky shoes and say, The hell with this marriage. You can have your sandal and eat it too. Thank God for the Orthodox and their Stone Age ideas about divorce. They get things done.

At least I passed the stupid DMV “knowledge” test – and do I mean STUPID! No knowledge required. Here’s a good one for you, a question that was on the stupid practice test, but not on the stupid real test I took:

Which of the following statements is true?

  1. Driving is a privilege, not a right.
  2. Driving is a right, not a privilege,
  3. Driving without a license is illegal.

You’d choose #3, right? Driving without a license is illegal. But it’s the wrong answer. Swear on a stack of motel Gideons, the correct answer is: Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Now imagine this scenario: I am pulled over by a cop who writes a ticket because he’s certain that I’m under the illusion that driving is a right not a privilege. He doesn’t care whether or not I have a valid driver’s license, just that I have the correct ideas about driving. Is this going to hold up in court?

Officer: Your honor, I gave this idiot woman a ticket because she believes that driving is a right, not a privilege. I didn’t have to check her driver’s license because who cares after such egregious contempt of the driving rules?

Now the judge bangs his gavel on the desk and gives me six months in jail where I write on the blackboard 100,000 times: Driving is a privilege, not a right, fuck the license shit. Just remember this one when you have to renew your license.

My driver’s license is now renewed but I can’t fly on an airplane. (I don’t know what it means to have a current driver’s license but not a REAL ID. Do I have a FAKE ID? Just one of the little things that tease my brain when waiting in line to do things like get my license renewed.) Mind you, I never wanted to FLY the damn plane, just to sit in one of those cramped little seats that hasn’t been cleaned in 40 years and let the experts fly it while I contract some contagious disease left by the sick passenger who sat in that seat the flight before mine.

So I can legally drive a car like all the other maniacs on the road who text, drink, and sleep behind the wheel, but I can’t sit in an airplane flying from Orange County to Burbank. Driving and flying – two forms of death defying transportation but only one needs a REAL ID. The other needs a license given on the predicate that driving is a privilege not a right, and I can apparently get a ticket for the wrong idea.

Hubby and I had  a notary sign an official form downloaded from the I-lost-my-marriage-certificate LA County website that declares that we really are married (47 years – please do not forget that.) We shall not get into a discussion about marriage, way too much philosophy, ethics, and argument for today. We filled it out in our best handwriting, and sent it off to the county recorder’s office with the $15 fee.

Hopefully we’ll have the official real authentic copy in time for my next appointment with DMV in October to finally get my REAL ID. At least this one is at  the DMV that’s only 3 miles from my home.

And then I will be really married and really ready to fly. Oh…yay…



Cartoon car image courtesy Pixabay









Comments on: "License to Drive but Not to Fly" (47)

  1. How frustrating. You have my sympathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So pleased to see you’re back, Sharon, despite the DMV’s best efforts. Oh. My. Goodness. That test! Keystone Cops. You may not have been the only one to give the DMV that kind of feedback. I feel your pain.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow–you really are annoyed. An actual f bomb. But I think anyone could be driven to this by the DMV.

    I’ve heard about these shenanigans and I checked my license–fortunately I’m good until 2021. I suppose I can’t fly until then. Really, that’s not a great loss. I have real problems with the whole airport security check thing.

    Flying is apparently also a privilege. And here I thought it was a business transaction.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cathleen, I love your last sentence – you made me laugh. The REAL ID kicks in on October 1, 2020, and you must have one even to fly within US borders. I hope that this measure of safety is genuine and not just surface glitz.

      Our California DMV is an underfunded system. We need about twice as many offices, especially in high population density areas, but I decline to sponsor a new office. (This ought to get their attention, right?)

      I should walk more anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I haven’t had to suffer through that but–hold on a second while I check when my renewal is…

    OK, I’m good, 2020.Phew.

    My daughter had her car towed back East (Maryland) and couldn’t prove she owned it (long story). It took so long to get the proof from the CA DMV (which she did finally get) that the tow storage fees exceeded the value of the car! She had to give it up.

    CA is ridiculous for so many things. How long did it end up taking you? And Real ID–will I have to get that at my renewal too? Luckily I have a passport. BTW, the passport is pretty cheap and easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ll probably want the REAL ID on your next driver’s license but since you have a current passport, it will be easy for you.

      I’d probably need the marriage cert to get a passport anyway because my birth cert name is different from my married name. Hubby couldn’t understand my dilemma but his name didn’t change when we got married.

      We can’t blame California – REAL ID is a federal requirement for flying even domestically, starting Oct 2020. They’re trying to make flying safer by knowing exactly who’s on the planes.

      I was only in the Oceanside DMV for less than 2 hours, but the drive down and back added 2 more hours to my day.

      So very sorry to hear about your daughter’s car problems. Car towing and storage is a HUGE moneymaker for those in the business. If you want to start a profitable business, that’s one for consideration. LOL


  5. Jenna Barwin said:

    I went through this last year. Fortunately, I didn’t change my name on getting married.

    But finding the proof of residency document was a bit harder for me. Think about it. I’m not employed or in school, so no option there. Whose names are the bills in? Both. But they only have room to show one name on the bill. The first one.

    And a lot of us pay utility bills online–paperless–so there is no monthly paper bill.

    Fortunately, my husband and I put his name first on some utilities, and my name first on others. But I had to go online and figure our which one showed in my name.

    Just like the security lines at airports, the Real ID is a royal pain for travelers, and I’m not convinced they make us any safer.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Am late catching up with your posts & most of my life this week. Apart from the frustrating incident, I love how you’re experimenting with humor! I have no idea how to work it, only know that in a class, several folks including the teacher laughed at a rape scene I wrote (& it wasn’t meant to be funny).


    • Oh, that’s not good. I’m so sorry that happened. But I have to admit that I’ve sometimes thought people were writing, or trying to write, humor or irony when they were being straightforward.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Verbal language is such a flawed mode of communication. Which is why I try to continually remind myself to not take things personally and to not be too hard on myself about wanting to make sure I’ve said things perfectly.


      • Every language has its limitations, one of them being the limited amount of time in writing or speaking we can devote to a topic. Still, the pain of being laughed at lasts a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are very sweet (as always) dear Shari – it didn’t feel good, for which I appreciate your good wishes – on the other hand, it was another lesson in how hard it is to be clear. So much is involved when trying to communicate. In the case of this class of about 30 students, it was quite a lesson to see how perceptions of the same writings can differ greatly. And a lesson of how ultimately we always take a chance each time we reach out to readers & anyone else.


      • Letting someone read our writing is a huge risk and it takes courage to do this. I agree with the differing perceptions. We don’t know where our readers are coming from either, so it’s all a toss in a goldfish bowl.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah – & it taught me graphically too how often we read according to what mood we’re in – one day someone might looove my writing & another…


  7. I just had my driver’s license renewed. I didn’t have to go through the loops that you went there. I still hate the process though. My picture always turns out crummy.


  8. Arghhhh times ten! It’s not like you were trying to get a license for an AK-7!!!!!!


  9. Oh my gosh this sounds like an absolute nightmare! I never learned to drive and don’t really have any intention of doing so (I’m 38 in a few months) but I’m always frustrated on The Bloke’s behalf with all the yearly things he has to deal with because of the car!

    I laughed out loud at ‘who would put up with a marriage for 47 years and lie about it?’ My sentiments exactly haha!


  10. I didn’t want to press “like” but OMG, Shari, I would have lost my MIND! The CA DMV is a broken mess and I have been in your shoes in the past with the wrong docs for different things! Hubby MAILED his vehicle registration one week before the end of May (yeah, I know, I can’t get him to do this stuff online)…so three weeks later he can’t drive his new truck in fear of getting a ticket, so he drives his old Corolla with no A/C. He went back to a different DMV and paid in person but the DMV STILL has his $500 from the “lost” mail. As soon as he paid in person, he checked his Golden 1 account and the DMV happily took both $500 payments. He filled out a refund form and we are still waiting. I doubt if anyone has a good story to tell about the DamnV as I call it. Hopefully, you can go back and get the Real ID. And that now reminds me that hubby needs to renew his before Oct 14–he better make an appt NOW! Nice to see a post from you and hope everything gets ironed out for you soon!


    • Terri, I like your name for the DMV – suits them perfectly. California doesn’t allot enough funds to the DMV – that’s the start of the mess. But not a good reason for them to take both your payments! My story was irritating but funny. There’s no humor in your story. I’m so sorry for the mess you’re dealing with. As for the appointment – there are usually none when you try to find one. Hubby might want to try getting an appointment now – and every day, several times a day – because the usual comment is “There are no appointments available at this location.” Which I why I went to Oceanside, an hour’s drive from my home. Yup, it’s a fun broken system. Wishing you guys a calm road ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sharon, yeah! Great to have you back … I missed you and your posts! ❤️

    You had me laughing out loud at this palaver to renew your licence! I did think I heard some shouting the other day … so that was you, was it? 😀😀 No wonder you were frustrated!! It beggars belief how some places just will not accept copies. Last week had to send original bills/paperwork to set up account with the library for public lending rights as an author. I ended up deleting lots of personal information on them with a marker pen!

    As for the question on the test!! Seriously??

    I’m glad you managed to keep sane through all this hassle and good luck with attempt number two! Have a calm and stress-free rest of the week. Hugs, Annika 🌺🦋


    • I’m so glad you liked this article, Annika. The question was real, but it was only on the practice test, which I assume means it was one culled from the hundreds that appear on the many actual versions of the tests. As for your library status: It seems to have become a measure of modern society to load every enterprise with layers of legal muffling, I guess to discourage litigation. You made me laugh as I thought of all the many escapades you had to wipe out with your pen. I once had to stand in the corner as punishment for eating two cookies when I was only offered one. So naughty, Annika. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sharon, I so enjoyed this one because frustration with bureaucratic insanity is unfortunately an acquired taste that well, I have acquired, over the years… I could sense the primal scream make its way into a full throated roar. Been there done that! And if you think the U.S. is frustrating, I have one for you to contemplate…

    As a dual citizen with a French and U.S. passport, it occurred to me once that who knows, we might want to live in Europe one day. And so,it would behoove us for Peta to be recognised as my wife through the French legal system. Years later and we are still stuck. Of the many documents translated, stamped by the right authorities, the missing element, talking of missing elements, is an original FULL copy of Peta’s South African birth certificate. Try as we have, we have not managed to acquire this…..

    I’d like to add to your list of administrative oddities, ie you can drive but you can’t fly. You could probably enter any Walmart in the U.S. and buy a fire arm with the ID that you have. Go figure…



    • The world is so crazy at this moment – not the condition I want for my children and grandchildren. I’ll have to work harder.

      Actually, Walmart recently decided to no longer sell handguns and ammunition. It’s a start. Hubby and I have often talked about how crazy it is to need a license to drive a car but nothing except a credit card to buy a gun.

      What is going on in South Africa that you can’t get Peta’s birth certificate? Should you and Peta finally get the docs to make everything official, I’ve never gotten to be a flower girl. Just mentioning this. Though at my age, I’d probably have to settle for a flower hag.

      BTW, I’ve never touched a gun in my life except for plastic water pistols.


  13. 47 years of being driven crazy might give you the license to fly . . . 😉


  14. What a bureaucratic nightmare, Shari! But then everything to do with bureaucracy is, isn’t it? Many congratulations on finally being officially married after 47 years! 😉
    And that test!! That’s not a test, that’s a trap! 😂 Oh my, I bet I would fail it, firmly believing that driving without a license is illegal. (Btw I often dream that I do exactly that – what might that mean?!)
    I’m very sorry that you had to go through this trouble and hope that all will be well in the end, but it did for a very good story and laugh. 😄


    • Thanks for your comments, Sarah. As I look back, it was a very annoying day but there are so many really troubling events happening in the world. This isn’t one of them. At least the folks who read this story laughed, and it’s a great thing to know I loosened a few funny bones.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Sharon,

    Oh, come on you gotta be pulling my leg with that answer! Is this a California thing you reckon? lol You’re right, who’d lie about being married 47 years. Speaking of original marriage licenses I think I recall seeing that somewhere recently. Think. Think. Think. Hmm, oh well, I hope I don’t need to prove that DH and I have been married for 40 years. Do I get brownie points since we dated for almost three years before getting hitched? Your post had me smiling. I love you humor! Best of luck in getting things straightened out at the DMV!


    • Cathy, you get all the brownie points you want. LA County Registrar’s Office has cashed my check but I’m still waiting for the official marriage certificate to arrive. Glad I made you laugh – it’s the only way out of bureaucracy.


  16. Hilarious post- but gosh I hate when things like this happen- you have to jump through a million hoops to just do a simple admin task!


    • Thanks, Rivka. The marriage certificate arrived in mail a few days ago, my re-do DMV appointment is Oct. 21 – we’ll see if all goes well this time. Of course, there’s nothing to write about if all goes well. 😀


  17. I laughed all the way through!

    It reminds me of when I was 8 months pregnant and thought it was a good idea to sew my own clothing. I walked blocks and blocks in the heat of summer with my toddler to yell at the fabric store cashier for not packing the buttons I bought a few hours previous. I was a scary mess but they insisted they did not have the buttons and they were right. They were on my floor at home. Sigh. I never went back there and stopped the whole sewing my own clothes experiment.


  18. I hope you have your Real ID by now, Sharon. This post made me groan and laugh at the same time. Unbelievable.


    • Glad you enjoyed, Diana. I finally got an authentic, official birth certificate and marriage certificate, so I now have all 2 dozen of the required 4 documents I have to show DMV. Also finally got a corrected driver’s license. They’d (DMV) transposed 2 numbers – try flying with the wrong address on your license! However, it might be useful if I’d gotten arrested for believing that driving is a right not a privilege. “Hey, Huey, can’t arrest this lady, wrong address on her driver’s license. Letting you got this time, ma’am, because I can’t figure out the mess the DMV made of your driver’s license.” But, no, I don’t have my real ID yet. It’s on the list of things I must do tomorrow – been there for many months. Hope you are enjoying International Women’s Day. Big parades around here, celebratory speeches – not. Sigh…women’s work – refer to the list.

      Liked by 1 person

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