I canceled today’s appointment because I can’t prove I’m me. If I were a MAN who had never changed his name, I would be fine. But since I do NOT have marriage certificates from my first marriage — and it is the ONLY form of proof the Registry of Motor Vehicles will accept in Massachusetts, I can’t prove I’m me. Who then have I been all these years? Apparently nobody. How amusing. You think maybe these laws are rather anti-woman? If this doesn’t convince women to stop changing their name when they marry, I don’t know what will. So. As it stands, I have no valid driver’s license. There’s no public transport in this town of any kind and we live four miles outside of town. I’m still waiting for stuff I ordered back at the beginning of February to get here from Nassau County, New York, so I may be long dead and buried by the time I see the rest of the information.

And still we wait.

Considering I have to prove I’m me and I’m already 75, who was I if I wasn’t me? I’ve voted, served on juries, worked, raised a child, owned homes, wrote a book and through all of that, I was me. But now I have to prove it.

This should be really super entertaining. And so, with that thought in mind, I found this piece from a few years ago that really speaks to the issue at hand. Amazing how little things change, isn’t it?

In the course of organizing my pictures, I lost this one. I have no idea how. I must have deleted it, but I didn’t do it on purpose.

Maybe while I was setting up a new computer and transferring files, this one fell between the chairs? Or got lost in some device, like maybe an ancient hard drive that no longer works. Or on an old DVD or floppy disk. Regardless, it is gone. I really liked it.

Path in the woods – A picture of a picture because I can’t find the original!

I have this picture because once upon a time, I printed this on canvas. I gave the picture away, but before I gave it away, I took a picture of the picture.

I lose things.

It’s not new. I have always had a habit of putting important items – papers, jewelry, lenses, cameras — in a safe place. Because, for some inexplicable reason, I have decided wherever it was, wasn’t safe enough. The problem is, wherever it previously was will be the place I remember it being. I will not remember the new, safer place I put it. If, indeed I put it anywhere and didn’t just put it down, go do something else, and forget about it completely.

The new, improved place to which I moved it is guaranteed to be a place I will never remember. It’s also possible I move things in my sleep. Yes, I sleepwalk. I know this because other people have seen me sleepwalking. Also, there are other things that only make sense if I did them in my sleep. No rational (or waking) explanation is possible.

The jewelry I found in the bottom of Garry’s underwear drawer? I’m pretty sure he didn’t put my necklace there. In any conscious state of mind, I would never put anything there, other than his underwear. Or, for that matter, the bundle of jewelry I discovered in the piano bench. Why would anyone put their jewelry in the piano bench? Even me?

The worst losses are accidental. I have something important in my hand. I need to do something else, so I put down. Temporarily. Life moves on. I meant to go back and deal with it, but I have a 15-second short-term memory, so if I put it down and don’t deal with it immediately, it could be in another universe.

The ONLY way I find this stuff is by retracing my steps. What rooms was I in? Could I have left it in Garry’s bathroom? My bathroom? Did I shove it in my camera bag? Which pants or jacket was I wearing? Have I washed it yet?

Occasionally, this results in finding the missing item. Mostly, it doesn’t, probably because the retracing was imperfect. And I forget about pockets. How many were there are and how much stuff you can shove into them.

Lost stuff can appear years later while I am hunting down something else that has gone missing. It can be a thrilling discovery … or it’s a duplicate of important papers I’ve already replaced.

A couple of friends of mine recently became widows. One of them strongly recommended I put our papers in order. Things like the deed to the house which I actually found by accident, so I know where it is. Garry doesn’t know where it is, but if I told him, he’d forget anyhow. Fifteen seconds isn’t nearly enough time. We have our birth certificates and our passports which will do in a pinch. I don’t have to worry about dealing with our fortune since there is none. In fact, it turns out all we will need — either of us — will be our birth certificates, social security cards, and a few passwords.

One sheet of paper in a manila envelope. I don’t even have to worry about the money needed to bury one or both of us because there is no burial money. Presumably, we will get buried, one way or the other. They have to do something with our corpses. Garry and I discussed this, then realized, “Why worry?” Garry is too old to buy life insurance (80 is the cutoff) and I’m too sickly. No one would sell me insurance at any price. No problem because I wouldn’t buy it anyway.

So we agreed to stop worrying about it. I figure the state has to do something with our bodies. It can’t be legal to leave us lying around and rotting although it might make an interesting TV show. Just a season or two. We could call it “What Should We Do With Those Old People?”

If we got the right permissions from some board of health (Worcester?), we could be buried on our own property. We’ve got plenty of room and the earth would be happy to have us.

Meanwhile, I’m searching for that missing picture. Not all the time, but every time I’m poking around a hard drive and trying to organize photographs. I look for it and I hope. It may turn up someday. Or not.

Categories: #Photography, Humor, Marilyn Armstrong, Personal

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27 replies

  1. do you have your old passport? that often is an acceptable form. Colorado went to the different driver’s license a while back, so I’m okay. I also never changed my name. When I was in medical school, one of the records people came to talk to our class, and one of her statements included telling all the women in the class that whatever name they chose to graduate under, they should use it professionally for the rest of their days. Good luck, and I hope things get sorted.


    • They won’t accept an out of date passport. Mine went out of date three years ago. This will get sorted, but not necessarily in any way I like. ONE term of a really bad president and look at the horrible mess!

      All of this nonsense means that many people — like me, immigrants who may have married and divorced overseas or, for that matter, poor people won’t be voting. That WAS the idea and it’s working.


  2. As for life insurance.., there’s Colonial Penn. They say it’s a no questions asked policy up to 85. $9.95 is the premium.., Johnathon Lawson says so. Give it a try, they say so right on TV has to be true, right?


    • 80 really IS the cutoff, so Garry is out — and no matter what they say, no one will take me. At least not in Massachusetts. Not even the burial insurance people. Not to worry. I’m pretty sure they have some legal obligation to take care of corpses — even ours.


      • They say 85 is the cut off, so you might still get in.


        • I tried. Garry could have slid in (but it was expensive) and despite the “no questions asked about health, they DO ask questions about health and I was rejected by absolutely EVERYONE. Hey, all we need is a bobcat and a shroud. Finished. I’m told apple trees grow especially well over human remains.


  3. Digital everything has it’s advantages.
    I had to prove my identity once. Only how as there was no postal address to send documents.
    I phoned, asked, and got told to send a photocopy of something with my name and address on it and a photograph by fax.
    So I photocopied my old, out of date identity card and my car insurance. Both in Black and white, and sent them in. Approval given, and what I ordered arrived.

    Now imagine how easy it would be to fake those two.
    Car insurance? I had one on disk. Could I have changed the date of issue and car registration. Yep, in seconds.
    Private security ID card. Could I have changed the date of issue. In a heart beat.

    Personally I also love the digital age as it’s made bureaucracy lazy.
    Incidentally. Have you Googled “Blank ID’s documents”?
    For a couple of bucks you can get a blanked out one by return of email.
    Will they pass muster? How good are you with photoshop?


    • Everything has changed. If you changed your name — as women typically do when they marry, you have to have divorce or marriage certificates showing EACH name change and if you were married outside the U.S. and can’t GET the paperwork, you are shit out of luck. As of right now, I have no legal ID. No driver’s license except the one that expired two weeks ago. I have my marriage certificate to Garry, but not the one for my first marriage. I have sent for it — months ago — but Nassau County (NY) has yet to send anything.

      If I don’t get the paperwork, I won’t have any valid ID and this town has no public transportation at all. None. Nada. Zero. So, if I have to drive, there won’t be a license. I don’t even know how I’ll be able to get some of my prescriptions.

      This is all the stuff the Republican party set in place.

      I don’t think I’m THAT good with Photoshop. I set a new date for mid April, but all things considered, I probably won’t have the paperwork by then, either.

      The thing is, ONLY a marriage certificate of divorce document (original, with seal, if you please) is legal. It’s a nightmare.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Poor you! As far as documents, I have a trust and know where everything is and have made a comprehensive list too, that’s cos of my lawyer dad telling me not to leave it for others to do! I hear you about names! I have a huge problem too. I have too many of them and each government agency says their choice is right and none of the others agree. I have a maiden name which is what TSA requires me to fly with, I have one for the IRS, another one for social security/medicare, and the one I use for banking. Apparently I never changed my name legally when I married “the one who shall never be named” but it’s on my passport and driver’s license. It is becoming a HUGE problem even though I use all of them in legal documents.


  5. I hope it turns up, Marilyn! Fingers crossed!


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