September 13, 2012
As most of you know by now, getting your driver’s license renewed requires, pretty much literally, an act of Congress and hours of standing in line, praying that your documents are in order. In an effort to deter people from obtaining a driver’s license illegally, a whole boat load of documentation is now required to renew that precious little card that gives us passage into pretty much every place we need to go these days.
If you’re a woman, and if you’ve ever gotten married, the process is even more convoluted. The paperwork trail that follows the name change brought about by marriage is mind-boggling. Maybe all this just seems like a big deal to me, because I’m a horribly unorganized person.
I happened to glance at my driver’s license a couple of weeks ago, and I saw that I have to renew it this year. Immediately, I panicked because of the news stories and personal horror stories my friends have told me about the new process. My stomach was in knots; the thought of gathering all that documentation that comes from agencies all over the country nearly paralyzes me with dread.
I made things worse by calling the Department of Driver Services to be sure I had a complete list of the required documents before embarking on the quest to gather them. I think I got the person who cleans the building or some random passerby who picked up the phone as a joke, because the questions I asked seemed to be foreign, news to the answerer. I was sweating by the time I hung up the phone, sure the renewal deadline would come and go, and I’d still be sitting there wringing my hands.
Thankfully, I have a few months to get all this together. It’ll take that long, I assure you. I have to ask though; how on earth does anyone obtain a driver’s license illegally? How do people hoodwink the system to get food stamps and Medicaid that they shouldn’t be getting? How does anyone deal with any huge government agency without having all their T’s crossed and their I’s dotted? Clearly, I am not smart enough to be a criminal.
Wish me luck.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at book signings and speaking publicly at various events. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is expected on book shelves in Fall 2012.