It is March.
Time to mess with Pisces.
Which begins at the information window that one must visit before making one's way to anywhere.
If only the Division of Motor Vehicles could have been in charge of Covid-19 when it came busting on the scene.
In vaccination terms they would be considered ninety-nine percent effective.
As only one percent of the population ever makes it past the first stop.
Since I am a Pisces I got in line to renew my driver license.
This was after three failed attempts at locating the building that is hidden behind a ginormous parking ramp that had not been erected eight years ago. I finally realized that the parking ramp was there for the DMV.
So I pulled in and I parked my car.
And then I walked across the way and up the stairs to glass doors that were plastered with signs, like so many are these days about masks and guns and this and that.
But the one that stuck out the most was the one that said, This Building Is Permanently Closed To The Public.
However there was another sign.
It was sunny out and not yet noon.
Spring was in the air.
It was all good.
I plugged the address from the other sign into my navigator and pulled out of the parking ramp.
Ten minutes later the lady said, "You have reached your destination."
Well, she was full of shit.
But I circled the area a few times and there it was, the world's smallest sign with the three most dreaded letters.
I pulled into the lot and rechecked my paperwork, slipped on my business black mask and found myself at the back of a socially distanced line that was aimed at the mandatory information window.
It was clear to all of us that the guy in front pleading his case was never going to make it in.
First of all he was from New York. Secondly, he had an accent. And thirdly, the ponytailed girl was throwing out DMV phrases, like, "We are not authorized." And, "You will have to contact..." And, "That is not in our jurisdiction."
The dude was screwed.
The next man had a quick question.
Could he switch his license plates around because the paint was peeling off the back one?
"Go online. Order new plates," she says.
Victim number three was a bent old geezer with a trimmed white beard.
He was somebody's sweet grandpa there to pick up a book.
"A what?" she says.
"A book. You know. A manual."
She stared at him like he had two heads.
"Your grandson will have to go online to study," she says. "That is where the information is."
"But isn't there a book?"
"I don't know. Maybe. Somewhere. But we don't any here," she says.
The old fella walked away looking dazed and confused, just like the others.
I was next.
Finally, I thought, a winner.
"I would like to renew my driver license and update to the real ID," I said with confidence.
"I will need to see your current license."
"Did you bring your birth certificate?"
"Has your name changed since birth?"
"I will need to see your marriage certificate."
"You are fucking kidding me."
"No, I am not," she said.
None of us made it to any of those thirteen windows that were open for business on the other side of the room.
But, I was not deterred.
On that same day a miracle occurred.
There in a file box in our basement was my musty old marriage license.
The next morning I got up early.
I took a shower and even blew my hair dry.
Surely I would have my picture snapped on round two.
I drove into the lot next to the little sign.
I was glad the little ponytailed girl wasn't on duty since I had dropped the big one on her. Although there was a part of me who wanted to stick that marriage certificate of mine up her ass.
There were two information windows open this day.
Fridays must be too busy for just one deflector.
"Driver's license?" he says.
"Another piece of information with your address? A utility bill?"
I dug through my purse stalling for time to make a plan, only to learn that a thirty percent off coupon for Kohl's department store, although the highest discount you can get, means nothing to the DMV.
He did however have a soul. He suggested that I look in my glove compartment for a proof of insurance card with perhaps my address stamped on it.
I returned to the line and then started all over with information guy number two, as guy number one was busy deterring another woman from getting anywhere.
And then information guy number two informed me that my birth certificate was invalid.
"Is this the original?" he says.
"Um. Isn't the original in some government building?" I answered.
"I mean, is this a photocopy?"
"Um. Aren't they all photocopies?"
"Well, yes. But I don't see a seal on this one. Which means it is not official."
It did not matter that I pulled out a proof of insurance card, my social security card, my marriage license, or that I offered him my first born.
He wouldn't even take my Kohl's cash which is free money.
However, he did have some free advice for me.
"You know. If you wait two more weeks, you will not have to pay the additional fourteen dollars for your real ID."
"Your driver license doesn't expire for another year, so anytime after your birthday you..."
"Your license expires in 2022. So.."
And then I looked at my license.
"I thought those eight years went by really fast!" I said. "That explains it."
Before leaving the building looking dazed and confused for the second time, I glanced over at the thirteen windows open for business.
They had no business.
On my drive home I had an epiphany.
"Screw the DMV!"
The post office was open when I pulled on the door.
I was surprised because in our little town of Mayberry, it closes for lunch and the way my day had been going I just assumed it would be locked.
The lady behind the counter was very helpful.
She said I could go online and I could schedule an appointment to renew my passport with a girl named Julie.
Well, this is where it should have ended.
I should have called it a day and I should have come back to look into renewing my passport another time.
But I was laser focused.
That is why I found myself sitting at my desk.
That is why I located the form for renewal.
And that is why I filled it out.
But then I had to begin again as it was locked for editing with an inaccurate phone number.
I filled it out again.
I hit, print.
And that is when I remembered there was a paper jam that I had been avoiding for months.
I had a knife in one hand and a needle nose pliers in my other and there was a lot of banging and cussing going on when my sweet Sven yelled down the stairs, "Do you need me to help you with something?"
"Do not come near me!" I hollered.
Forty five minutes later the last of a mutilated piece of paper was released from that mother when I accidentally pressed two secret buttons simultaneously, which turned the mantle into a wall that spun around and opened up to a hidden passageway.
My printer requested alignment.
I could only imagine after the beating it just took.
The thing takes a day and a half to print out one page.
My printer stopped and requested alignment for the second time.
I really couldn't argue with it. All the writing was totally crooked on all the pages that were printing, including the form with the incorrect phone number, as well as all the stuff that I had tried to print for months.
One by one, piece by piece, the paper came strolling out of the groaning thing, like a bunch of turtles trying to scrape their way out of a mud hole.
All the pages were a little crinkled, with jagged right edges and the writing was still slanted.
And then just like that.
It ran out of ink.
The Real End.
"What's that Louisa?"
Hold on, my sister is yelling something.
"No! I never looked at my license. I knew it was time to renew it. Duh!"