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.
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.
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.