Monday, April 21, 2008

Ducks in A Row

I now have the last stupid stinking document I need to finally get my Arkansas driver's license. I have been pushing to get that taken care of SOON, since my OK license expires at the end of May.

Yes, I KNOW the law 'requires' me to have already accomplished this little bit of vital government tracking. And had the State of Arkansas not enacted such an idiotic "anti-terrorist" law, it would have been accomplished LONG AGO.

I went down to the Bureau of Revenue... after having had to ask a native Arkansawyer where one went to obtain a driver's license. Hmmm... now why would I have not thought to look at a tax agency regarding a driver's license?

I took my OK license and my Social security card and cash money and toddled off to the Revenue office. I handed over both of these bits of documentation... and the clerk asks for my birth certificate! She says it is a fairly new anti-terrorist law- I have to present my birth certificate- not just trade in the perfectly good and legal Oklahoma license for an Arkansas one.

But I don't HAVE a copy of my birth certificate. It was lost many, many years ago. Last time I looked into getting a copy, the State of California wanted a whopping $60 (yes, SIXTY DOLLARS!) for a copy! of a birth certificate. At that time, I couldn't spare $60 (who can ever SPARE it?) for a piece of paper. Now I was being forced to spend it.

I guess with so many people being forced to obtain legal documentation these days, California had to lower its fees to accommodate the less wealthy citizens. I was able to send off for a copy of the birth certificate for $15, plus the cost of notarizing an official request, plus the cost of certified mail. In about six weeks, I got a postcard from California. It was a schedule of time to allow for official documents to be processed. A birth certificate (certified duplicate copy) took from six to nine months to process, according to the postcard. Now if I had a copy of my birth certificate already, and just need to have a change of gender , That only takes eight to twelve weeks.

I kid you not. A Change of Gender request was listed on the timetable! How weird are things in the State of my birth, that Gender Changes are frequent enough to merit their own line on a timetable?

So after a due amount of time, my birth certificate finally arrives! I learned that my Dad worked at a tomato cannery when I was born, and some other interesting trivia. It arrived just about the time BEN turned 18, so I figured to make one trip to the Revenue office to get Ben and I both fixed up. Ben had his Oklahoma learner's permit- and we had just waited until he turned 18 to get him a "real" driver's license in Arkansas. (Here I have to recount Ben's part in the adventure)

We showed up at the Arkansas Highway Patrol office, where driving TESTS are given. We were shuffled from line to line. Finally, the clerk takes Ben's OK learner's permit, and starts to set him up for the written test. I asked if he would be able to take the actual driving portion of the test the same day. She says No- he has to have his Arkansas Learner's permit for six months before he can take the road test. I say to Ben, "I'm sorry! I thought that when you turned 18, you could just take the test and get your license."
The clerk then actually looked at his paperwork.
She said "Oh, he already HAS a driver's license! You just need to take this to the revenue office and get it changed to Arkansas."
I said, "This is just a learner's permit. He needs to take the driving portion of the test."
"No, THIS is a REAL driver's license."
"It is a LEARNER's PERMIT, he has NEVER taken the road test, not even in Oklahoma"
"Ma'am, I am an Arkansas Highway Patrol OFFICER, and I am telling you it is a valid DRIVER's LICENSE."

She sent us off to the Revenuers.

The clerk there took Ben's Oklahoma LEARNER'S PERMIT, his Birth certificate and SS card... made copies, charged him a fee... and sent him over to have his picture made for his Arkansas driver's license.
Wow. That was easy.

So then it is my turn. I give her my OK license, my SS card, and my birth certificate. She looks them over and says, "I need your marriage license too."
"WHAT? Why didn't you tell me that LAST TIME I was here? You said I needed the items I brought today."
"Well you need your marriage license too. Have you ever been married before?"
"Yes, but that was well over 20 years ago."
"Doesn't matter. We will also need copies of any previous marriages and divorces."

Amazingly, I didn't leap over the counter to pummel and choke the clerk.

I am an overweight grandmother with three valid forms of identification. I have been driving for thirty years without causing an accident. They just gave my son- who has brown eyes, brown hair, an olive complexion and could masquerade as a middle easterner- a driver's license without even TESTING to see if he can actually drive- and they want me to document my life stage by stage! I walked out of there figuring I would drive with my Oklahoma license until it expires... in May 2008.

So I travelled to Ft. Worth this last Friday and paid $21 to get half a sheet of officially stamped printer paper bearing record of the marriage to the jerk/ slimeball /scuzzbucket WHN (WhatsHisName) I have been divorced from for 23+ years. I can now get an Arkansas driver's license before my Oklahoma expires.

In line to go through security at the airport Friday morning, I glanced at my Oklahoma license, as the TSA official dealt with the person ahead of me having an expired license. I did a double-take. I expire in May 2009 , not 2008.
But I will still get this taken care of this week when I take Tommy to get his driver's license.

1 comment:

zookeeper said...

Wow- we moved from CT to FL recently and the process of switching our licenses was amazingly easy! Just needed our license and our birth certificates. That's it. It took about 15 minutes. Oh, and here too you have to go to the Tax Collector's office to get your licensing and motor vehicle regs taken care of. Weird for us because in CT there's actually a whole state department of motor vehicles (DMV) that handles all that.